Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman is best known as an obstetrician-gynaecologist who worked all over the world for the health and rights of women and children. She is a well-known scientist, author and politician.
At the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), the international community made a firm commitment to step up the struggle for improving women’s rights. An ambitious Program of Action was adopted, aiming at
In the same year, Marleen Temmerman established the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH). By doing this, she wanted to contribute to these aims. And now, 20 years later, the ICRH is carrying out projects in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe, together with sister organisations in Kenya and Mozambique.
In 2012 she became Director of WHO s Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva. At the end of 2015 she left WHO to become Head of the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Aga Khan University in Nairobi. She is a pioneer in the fight for equal rights for women.
Through the Marleen Temmerman Fund, Ghent University wants to honour this inspired academic and to support the further development of the International Centre for Reproductive Health . By doing this, Ghent University aims to contribute to the wellbeing of women, but also of men and children and of society as a whole. Because women can make a difference!
Indeed, more rights for women, full and universal access to health including contraceptives, and good sexual and reproductive health, advances the development opportunities of both women and children, and stimulates the socio-economic prosperity of communities.
Your contributions to the Marleen Temmerman Fund will be used to support the activities of the ICRH worldwide.
The ICRH prefers to work with local researchers for its research projects in developing countries. These are however hard to find. There is a shortage of well-trained researchers in the field of sexual and reproductive health. And this shortage is even more severe in Africa, where the needs are high.
The ICRH offers an intensive training programme in which African researchers are immersed during six months in the research activities at the ICRH in Ghent, followed by six months field work experience in Kenya or Mozambique. The interns receive a living allowance of 1300 Euro per month. This program is in no way subsidized, which explains why additional resources are being sought through the Marleen Temmerman Fund.
Rapes and more in general violence against women (and children) are unfortunately frequent phenomena worldwide, and also in Kenya. In 2007 the ICRH Kenya established, together with Ghent University and the Kenyan Ministry of Health, the Gender Based Violence Recovery Centre (GBVRC), with the aim to not only offer medical care, but also psycho-social and legal support. Since its inception, more than 4000 victims were helped, of which 80% women and girls and over 50% younger than 18 years.
I addition to care and assistance, the GBVRC sets up sensitization activities, training for hospital staff on how to deal with victims of violence, and research into prevalence and prevention of violence. The ICRH plays an important role in this and thanks to the Marleen Temmerman Fund the continuity of these badly needed activities can be guaranteed.
Being pregnant and giving birth are natural processes, but if something goes wrong this can have serious consequences for mother and child. Research has demonstrated that the delivery is a particularly risky moment, especially if the woman is far from a maternity facility or a hospital. ‘Maternity shelters’ can contribute to a decrease in maternal and infant mortality. These shelters are ‘waiting homes’ close to a maternity facility where women living in remote areas or with increased risk of complications can stay awaiting their delivery.
Also in the first weeks after delivery problems may occur which can be solved if they are detected in time. Research has indicated that house visits by health care workers who check on mother and child, can avoid many problems. If necessary, mother and child are referred to a health care facility for further care. The resources of the Marleen Temmerman Fund are used for supporting the maternity shelters and for purchasing bicycles for the health care workers who make the house visits.