Understanding the relationship between women's political participation and health has eluded researchers and cannot be adequately studied using traditional epidemiological or social scientific methodologies. We employed a health capability framework to understand dimensions of health agency to illuminate how local political economies affect health. Exploiting a cluster-randomized controlled trial of a community-based behavior change management intervention in northern India, we conducted a qualitative study with semistructured, in-depth focus groups in both intervention and nonintervention villages. We presented scenarios to each group regarding the limitations and motivations involved in women's political participation and health. Thematic analysis focused on four domains of health agency -- participation, autonomy, self-efficacy, and health systems -- relevant for understanding the relationship between political participation and health. Elder women demonstrated the greatest sense of self-efficacy and as a group cited the largest number of successful health advocacy efforts. Participation in an associated community-based neonatal intervention had varying effects, showing some differences in self-efficacy, but only rare improvements in participation, autonomy, or health system functioning. Better understanding of cultural norms surrounding autonomy, the local infrastructure and health system, and male and female perceptions of political participation and self-efficacy are needed to improve women's health agency. For a community-based participatory health intervention to improve health capability effectively, explicit strategies focused on health agency should be as central as health indicators.
Feldman, Candace H., Gary L. Darmstadt, Vishwajeet Kumar, and Jennifer Prah Ruger. "Women's Political Participation and Health: A Health Capability Study in Rural India." Journal of health politics, policy and law (2014): 2854621.
Jonathan D. Moreno, PhD was recently appointed by Director-General Irina Bokova to the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (IBC), a group of 36 leading scholars that follows progress in the life sciences and its applications in order to ensure respect for human dignity and freedom.
The overall goal of the Dartmouth/Penn Research Ethics Training and Program Development for Tanzania (DPRET) is to establish new and strengthen existing expertise in research bioethics among research scientists, faculty, health care providers and other professionals at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) and throughout Tanzania. This goal will be achieved through graduate level degree training for Tanzanian scholars at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), intensive practicum experiences at Dartmouth and MUHAS, and the establishment of a graduate training program in bioethics in Tanzania. This project is funded by a grant from the Fogarty International Center at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).
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