LMIC BMVP Affette McCaw-Binns public lecture - Evidence & Policy: the thorny issue of reforming the 19th century law on abortion in a Commonwealth Country

4 June 2018, 5.00 PM - 4 June 2018, 6.30 PM

Lecture Theatre 3, Arts Complex 3-5 Woodland Road


In Jamaica any terminations of pregnancy are against the law (for both women and their doctors), with a resulting increase in maternal mortality due to backstreet abortions. Selected Commonwealth Countries, including the United Kingdom, have been able to modernize the relevant sections of the Offences Against the Person Act in the 20th century; this most often occurred under liberal governments. Following a failed attempt in 2007-8 and the current conservative environment locally and globally, the presentation explores a strategy currently underway of community consultation, employing elements of the success in Jamaica of revising the Dangerous Drugs Act regarding cannabis use.

About the speaker

Professor McCaw-Binns is the Professor of Reproductive Health and Epidemiology in the Department of Community Health and Psychiatry, University of the West Indies, Mona. She has had over 30 years of research and consultant experience aimed at improving maternal and perinatal health outcomes and the quality and completeness of vital registration in developing countries, with particular interest in policy and programme design, strategic planning and implementation evaluation. She has collaborated on international projects (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Latin America and the Caribbean) with the World Health Organization (WHO), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), UN Women and the Institute of Medicine. These activities have focused on measuring maternal morbidity and mortality and infant health outcomes. She is currently a member of WHO Working Groups to End Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) and improve the measurement of Maternal Morbidity and Mortality. In Jamaica she helped to develop specialist antenatal care for high risk mothers; programmes for reducing morbidity from hypertension in pregnancy; guided the development of maternal and perinatal mortality surveillance, audit and response systems, and has undertaken evaluations of, and recommended strategies to, improve vital registration processes, quality and completeness. She is an alumna of New York University (BA), Tulane University (MPH) and the University of Bristol (PhD).

The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.

Contact information


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