Three pregnant refugees and nearly 50 others denied medical transfers from Nauru

20/08/2017 Ben Doherty 0

Asylum seekers and refugees awaiting surgeries, abortions and other treatment prevented from having overseas transfers by Nauru hospital committee

Nearly 50 refugees and asylum seekers held on Nauru – including at least three women seeking to terminate a pregnancy – are being refused, or not considered for, overseas medical treatment, in defiance of doctors’ recommendations.

Three pregnant refugee women on Nauru have asked to terminate their pregnancies, for cultural, familial and health reasons. Doctors’ requests for them to be transferred overseas for the procedure have been rejected. Terminations are illegal on Nauru, a devoutly Christian country.

Related: Australia’s offshore detention centres ‘terrible’, says architect of system

Related: ‘It’s time to act’: Liberal MP calls for Australia to take refugees from Manus and Nauru

Related: Border force doctor knew of Manus asylum seeker’s deteriorating health before death

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Bollywood’s hot new topics: open toilets, menstrual hygiene and erectile dysfunction

20/08/2017 Anupama Chopra 0

Forget all those swirling songs and plots about love, heartache and family values. Bollywood has more pressing concerns

‘This is not about defecation,” says the hero of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which translates as Toilet: A Love Story. “It is about our whole way of thinking!” What makes this startling line all the more surprising is that it is delivered by Akshay Kumar, an actor straight out of the Bollywood A-list.

The film, as the second half of its title suggests, has no shortage of such Bollywood staples as romance and love songs. But the main subject matter is one that no Hindi film has ever tackled before: open defecation. This is a singularly Indian problem. Various studies estimate that 60% of India’s billion-plus population don’t have access to a bathroom. For women, this isn’t just a question of sanitation. It’s about safety, privacy and independence.

Related: India’s women given low-cost route to sanitary protection

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Mother preferred Dr over Miss or Mrs | Brief letters

17/08/2017 Letters 0

Academic titles | Margarets as a dying breed | Big Ben | Girls’ and boys’ clothes | Dogs on escalators

Alison Hackett (Letters, 17 August) complains at the use of “Dr” and “Prof” titles. But they can prove useful. Our mother Anne McLaren (a single parent, and a biologist who, working with mice, created the world’s first IVF birth, and became the first woman officer of the Royal Society in their 300-year history, as foreign secretary and vice-president), was asked, “Is it ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’?”. We three kids watched and wondered how she would respond. “No,” she said firmly, “It’s ‘Dr’.”
Prof Jonathan Michie
President, Kellogg College, Oxford

• If the editor wants to fill the letters page with letters from Margarets (Letters, 17 August), she should act soon, as peak Margaret was in 1900 when it was third most popular name for baby girls. When I had come on the scene in the late 1930s it was eighth, and by the time politics became aware of Maggie Thatcher it lingered at 95th. We are a dying breed.
Margaret Squires
St Andrews, Fife

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The Guardian view on vaginal mesh implants: trust data and patients | Editorial

16/08/2017 Editorial 0

The devices have benefited a large number of women – but thousands have suffered serious adverse effects

The numbers tell their own tale. Thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed after suffering complications. Around one in 15 of those fitted with the most common type of mesh have required operations, according to NHS data obtained by the Guardian. In short, the problems are much more widespread than previously acknowledged. The removal rate was previously estimated at less than 1%.

But numbers are not enough. Each case is a woman with a disturbing story; and listening is as important as tallying them. Carolyn Churchill had to give up work after she was left in agony, with persistent bleeding. Yet she said she was made to feel like a baby for complaining. Others describe being left unable to walk or have sex – and of being assured that the implant was not responsible. So even this data under-represents the problem. Women may not be referred for removal, or may decide against it given the risks.

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Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

Carolyn Churchill was in agony after mesh surgery, but doctors were reluctant to blame her implant, even suggesting the pain might be a mental health issue

Six years ago, Carolyn Churchill, 57, from near Pontypridd in Wales, was in a long-term relationship, worked as a chef, and spent hours each week walking with her dogs and looking after her granddaughter’s pony. She was busy and content, but was bothered by stress incontinence, which affects roughly 10% of women.

“Never knowing when you’re going out if you’re going to wee yourself. It really got to the stage where it was embarrassing,” she recalls.

Related: ‘Scandal’ of vaginal mesh removal rates revealed by NHS records

Related: Vaginal mesh left me in agony. When will women’s health be taken seriously? | Kath Sansom

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Nepal outlaws custom of exiling women during their periods

10/08/2017 Hannah Summers 0

Campaigners welcome introduction of jail sentences and fines for isolating women during menstruation but warn education is needed to end stigma

Nepal has passed a law criminalising the practice of banishing women to huts during their periods.

The ancient Hindu tradition of Chhaupadi, whereby women are confined to animal sheds during menstruation to keep “impurity” out of the home, was banned by the supreme court in 2005.

Related: Nepal’s bleeding shame: menstruating women banished to cattle sheds | Kate Hodal

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