RCE Salisbury - 2023

The State of Women’s Gynecologic Health - A Community to Global Approach
Basic Information
Title of project : 
The State of Women’s Gynecologic Health - A Community to Global Approach
Contributing organization(s) : 
RCE Salisbury
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Dr. Brittany Foutz
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Salisbury
Adebola Okusolubo
Organizational Affiliation: 
RCE Salisbury
Format of project: 
PowerPoint Presentation, Report
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Thursday, November 30, 2023
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Salisbury University Salisbury, Maryland
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The Eastern Shore began the twenty-first century with strong growth across multiple economic indicators. The region gained jobs at double the rate of the rest of the state from 2001 to 2007 while also outpacing the state in net business creation and keeping pace in wage growth. However, there are more people experiencing poverty now than there were 30 years ago. Maryland’s poverty rate is 19 percent higher than it was in 1990 – a year that the U.S. economy entered a recession – and there are nearly 200,000 more Marylanders trying to get by on incomes below the federal poverty line. Nearly every county in the state has a higher poverty rate than it had in 1990. While unemployment rates have continued to decline since the 2008 recession, wages often are not high enough to support a family. However, Maryland has a history of supporting effective programs that help lift people out of poverty. Working together, the state can do even better. Maryland is working strongly to support efforts to address the state’s many unmet needs and invest in the success of all Marylanders.

The State of Maryland has an estimated population of 6,052,177 people based on the most recent US census calculations. When broken down into regional populations, the Eastern Shore of Maryland region includes the following nine counties: Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester, and Somerset. The sparsely populated counties of the Eastern Shore of Maryland have a combined population of 454,889 or 13% of the state population.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The core area in the region constitutes the “shore counties” or those that reside either within or on the Chesapeake Bay (watershed) and along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. This includes all of the counties in Delaware, Maryland, and nineteen of the forty counties in Virginia. These physical locations are being subjected to the quickest increases in climate change activities and the poorest residents in these locales will experience severe detrimental impact on their quality of life.

SDG 4 - Quality Education

Secondly, the citizens of the Delmarva Peninsula, by and large, have lower levels of educational attainment and lower incomes. RCE Salisbury will focus in part on communities in these areas that experience the highest high school dropout rates where the social reproduction of poverty is endemic.

SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

The most vulnerable members of this region are in the crosshairs of climate change and educational disadvantage. Both will lead to increased social conflict and with limited resources and limited planning the consequences are dire. These dynamics will impact the foundational resources that people and the institutions built on these resources - depending on for survival, security, and prosperity.
August, 2023
Understanding the variation in regions of the African continent is essential, as highlighted by the United Nations Statistics Division. Diving into the resources for women's health across these regions helps us gain insights that are necessary for policymaking and targeted interventions. Analyzing the impact of underlying diseases on fertility and family dynamics provides a comprehensive understanding of the challenges women face. This knowledge helps in making inferences about how their health can be positively transformed for the future.

Additionally, exploring local women's health issues on the Eastern Shore of Maryland offers ways of application in global insights and emphasizes the severity of solving certain challenges. Connecting these issues to specific UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) helps in showing the significance of addressing women's health, linking local actions to the global overall agenda. These educational practices allow one to have an interconnected perspective and empowers individuals to contribute meaningfully to health initiatives that align with international development goals.
The main objective is to gain insight into women's gynecologic health across African regions. This approach involves exploring available components to help with healthcare progression and assessing the effects of pre-existing conditions that act on fertility and reproductive success through statistical evidence and surveys. Drawing these informed conclusions will help come up with ways to enhance health outcomes and assess the value in addressing these concerns that align with particular UN SDGs.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The activities and practices employed include addressing cervical cancer challenges in Africa. Practices employed include conducting surveys for broader representation and establishing public sector screenings. Widely known knowledge through cross-sectional surveys reveals gaps in understanding HPV's cancer-causing potential. Efforts to address reproductive health problems in Africa involve accessible healthcare, drug treatment programs, and educational initiatives. For treatments, increasing the free education system on a regional level can help negate the challenge that lies in limited access to radiotherapy due to job scarcity and high costs. Even with the difficulties the continent encounters, these worldwide efforts show potential for positive outcomes in the future.
Size of academic audience: 
The findings reveal significant challenges in cervical cancer management across the extended Middle East and North African (EMENA) regions. Limited data collection, biased information, and inadequate resources contribute to undetected HPV and late-stage cervical cancer, resulting in higher mortality rates for women. Privately funded screenings have data scarcity, while financial constraints and lifestyle factors further prevent access to HPV screening and treatments. Addressing these issues demands systematic screening programs, public sector involvement, and increased awareness. Maternal health issues emphasize the need for accessible healthcare, preventive services, and interventions to reduce maternal mortality in Africa. It was also found on a local level that the plight of migrant women in Maryland's crab industry emphasizes the urgency for legal protections and outreach not just in Africa, but worldwide. Aligning actions with UN SDGs is crucial to advancing women's health, education, and equality.
Lessons learned: 
Increasing awareness about gynecologic health in Africa is vital. Success involves culturally mindful connections and continental partnerships especially since other locations battle the same problems. Failures stem from misunderstanding health impacts, limited resources, and what many deem as societal norms. Opportunities lie in using advanced and affordable technology and collaborating globally. These lessons stress the need for more tailored education, the UN's involvement, and continuous efforts to transform attitudes and practices for better women's health in Africa.
Key messages: 
In this project, we will discuss the UN's regional divisions in Africa, going into women's health resources across Northern, Central, Southern, East, and Western Africa. An analysis of the impact of underlying diseases on fertility and households will help infer ways to enhance health and address major women's health issues.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
RCE Salisbury is planning to do an advocacy campaign in the region to draw attention to major women's health issues on the Eastern Shore and what relief and healthcare exists in the region.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
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