Friday, October 16, 2009

8 Days in Cape Town

I spent 8 days in Cape Town for the FIGO 2009 conference. The conference was great and Cape Town is seriously amazing.

First, the conference.

I reconnected with old friends

and saw some great presentations. The conference was so good I was reluctant to miss any of it to go sightseeing.

One of the most memorable was one of the smaller sessions in which these 2 women from Montevideo, Uruguay presented a program for reducing unsafe abortions there, called Iniciativas Sanitarias.
Abortion is illegal, but doctor-patient confidentiality is sacrosanct. So they designed a pre-abortion and post-abortion counseling program.
Women considering abortion came to their clinic, received counseling, evaluation, and information on unsafe abortion, and on misoprostol (which is still illegal as an abortion method, but widely available, and much safer than surgical abortion with non-sterile instruments). The women were then sent home.
Around 12% decided not to have an abortion, and around 85% had a safe, successful ("illegal") abortion with misoprostol.
It's a phenomenal idea. As one of the FIGO speakers said "While countries waste time in a sterile discussion of whether or not to do abortions, women continue to die of unsafe abortions."

After the conference, I had time for sightseeing, and there is a LOT to see in Cape Town.


Bo Kap, a colorful Malay neighborhood :

The District Six Museum

Beautiful mountains behind beautiful buildings

Live music at Mama Africa

A very tiny cannon

Table Mountain, first attempt - cable car closed due to wind

Table Mountain, second attempt - successful

Robben Island - where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years

Questionable clothing labels

Good coffee and muffins

And great company.

All in all, a wonderful trip.
Who's joining me in Rome for FIGO 2012?

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