By: Saundra Pelletier, CEO, WomenCare Global
Many smart people love the idea of alleviating poverty; however, because it is such an overwhelming proposition, they quickly shift their thinking to more attainable goals. What they do not realize is the answer is simple; the puzzle can be solved; and it as easy as investing in the world’s women. Women, after all, hold up half the sky. A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her health, education, and well being by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family, and building a strong community. Yes, Women Deliver.
When I look ahead to the year 2015, I envision a world where there is a cultural consciousness and awareness of why preventing mothers from dying in childbirth is so vital. Women’s health, particularly women’s reproductive health, will no longer be pushed aside for more “pressing issues.” The lives of women and mothers will be at the core of conversations in both global health and global development circles. One of the most important benefits will be that 600,000 children will not grow up without the love and care of a mother.
At WomanCare Global, our mission is to improve the lives of women in developing countries by ensuring that every woman – no matter where she lives – has access to reliable, high-quality reproductive health products.
Today, more than 215 million women lack access to modern contraception methods to prevent or delay pregnancy. Much-needed health supplies run short for reasons that range from supply chain gaps to underfunding or inconsistent funding. What is more, the need for women’s health supplies is growing. As the world’s population continues to balloon – having surpassed the seven billion mark in October 2011 – the discrepancy between an increasing demand for contraceptives and the available supply will leave an estimated 224 million women without health supplies by 2015.
Admittedly, meeting this need is difficult. While a number of pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers provide products, few are able to make significant investments in low-resource settings. Donor governments, multi-lateral and non-governmental organizations – some of whom are our trusted partners – are doing incredible work to distribute products where they can, despite the fact that funding for reproductive health is oftentimes a political football.
But reaching this goal is not impossible. The distribution channels exist. The products exist. And, the demand is certainly there.
WomanCare Global is a new company, but we are working fast. We hope that by 2015, WomanCare Global will have worked in tandem with our partners to make a significant dent in the problem that exists today, by providing affordable, quality products for contraception, fertility, and pregnancy management to women in developing countries. The stakes could not be higher: If we succeed and are able to close the gap between supply and demand by 2015, it will mean 70 percent fewer unwanted pregnancies, 44 percent fewer newborn deaths, and 150,000 maternal deaths avoided.
We can make this happen. We just have to do more than work together. We have to take a long hard look at our true intentions, and if those intentions are to change the world, then the ONLY answer is to invest in women now.