International Council on Women's Health Issues (ICOWHI) Conference held in Gabarone, Botswana, 9-11 July, 2008.

Author:Thomson, Ann
 
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With the theme of 'Women's health across the lifespan--the girl child: safety, health and development', the 17th conference of ICOWHI was hosted by the School of Nursing, University of Botswana. Formed in 1983, the mission of ICOWHI is to 'Enhance empowerment, decrease inequity and promote the health and well-being of women worldwide by facilitating and supporting communication and networking among researchers, clinicians, educators and community advocates'. Conference participants were welcomed by Dr Thabo Mokoena, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Roy Mafunga, Deputy Mayor of Gabarone. During the opening ceremony participants were treated to a stimulating address by Gogontlejang Phaladi (aged 13) who told us what a girl child needs. She challenged us by asking us how we could attend a conference about the Girl Child but only have one girl child attending and presenting.

Throughout the days there were many concurrent papers on five themes of Policy and Legislation, Research, Education, Mental Health, Development, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and HIV/AIDS and Related Issues. The quality of the research presentations was excellent and much discussion ensued. Although midwives may have been disappointed at the poor attention given directly to issues of maternal mortality and morbidity, there were many commonalities among the issues discussed between Safe Motherhood and Safe Womanhood, including gender-based violence, poverty, unavailability of...

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