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Looking Forward: From Problems to Progress

By: Saundra Pelletier; Originally posted on Huffington Post

As this year comes to a close, I'll take this time for reflection and introspection -- to celebrate the successes, lament the missteps and be grateful for how far WomanCare Global has come. But it won't be long before I'll start thinking about tomorrow and the work that needs to be done. It's critical work because our world needs women -- and women need to have choices. Regardless of what motivates you, whether it's global warming, nutrition, agriculture or clean water, I am certain that the first step forward is providing women and girls with safe, affordable and sustainable contraceptive choice. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Pakistani Midwives Provide Postpartum Family Planning Services

By: Sara Pellegrom, Women Deliver

A new initiative, led by Jhpiego and funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, is providing counseling to women about postpartum family planning methods to prevent unwanted pregnancies and space births to improve the health of the mother and child. The program has trained 425 maternal health care providers of different skill levels across 21 facilities about postpartum family planning methods, including the postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD). It has also included input from district managers from the Government of Pakistan’s health and population departments and has taught them how to provide appropriate and supportive supervision to health facility staff. Read more...

Global Citizen Festival Calls for Women’s Equality

By: Janna Oberdorf, Women Deliver

On Saturday, September 28th, more than 60,000 people will come together at a musical festival on the Great Lawn in Central Park, New York City, to focus on one goal – to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The Global Citizen Festival, which will feature musical performances by John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Kings of Leon, and Stevie Wonder, gives “Global Citizens” the opportunity to join a movement of people who together are creating a world without extreme poverty. By taking action on globalcitizen.org, citizens from around the world can earn points to enter a chance to win passes to the festival.

The focus of the Festival this year will not only be on global poverty, but on accelerating progress on the issues of health, education, women’s equality, and global partnerships. Coinciding with the UN General Assembly, the Festival serves as an important platform for citizens to come together and raise their voices for change in a moment when critical leaders are gathered together. Read more...

The Everyday Heroes

By: Pamela Barnes; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Did you know that today is World Contraception Day? Many articles in your newsfeed today will likely call attention to the fact that despite ongoing advances in global reproductive health, there are still 220 million women around the world who want to avoid or postpone pregnancy but who lack access to modern contraception. World Contraception Day shines light on the urgent need for family planning and how best to get it into the hands of the women who need it most. A crucial but often forgotten link is the health care provider. When I think about World Contraception Day, I'm reminded that at some point in our lives, all of us need access to reproductive health information. Who gave you the information you wanted and needed? I would like to introduce to you to Nurse Peace Ametsitsi, an everyday hero whom I met while I was in Ghana. Peace helps women at the Koforidua Polyclinic in Eastern Ghana -- up to 50 a day -- find peace of mind in their lives. This post is dedicated to Peace, and to all health care providers whose guidance puts us on a healthy path. Read more...

Women’s Equality Day: Mobilizing the Women of the World

By: Saundra Pelletier, WomanCare Global; Originally posted on Huffington Post

What does investing in women and in their ability to advocate for themselves mean for the world? In Caribou, Maine, where I'm from, girls had two choices when they were growing up - who they would marry and how many children they would have. There were many "invisible women" who lacked access to resources, powerful female role models and, above all, choice. My mother encouraged me to advocate for myself and for those who felt invisible. As the CEO of WomanCare Global, a non-profit women's health company focused on delivering high-quality healthcare products, I believe that empowering women by ensuring their reproductive choice is critical for women who simply want to provide a better quality of life for their children and ultimately, themselves. On a global scale, an investment in female empowerment ensures healthier, wealthier and better educated communities. Read more...

 

The X Factor: Why Investing In Family Planning Can Yield The Greatest Impact

By: Pamela W. Barnes, EngenderHealth; Originally posted on Forbes.com

There are certain moments in our lives when the dots connect, the numbers add up, and things just make sense. Last month in Malaysia, I experienced the dots connecting from all over the world when I was among world leaders, policymakers, and advocates — including Melinda Gates, Chelsea Clinton, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata, First Lady of Zambia, and Princess Mary of Denmark, to name just a few — at Women Deliver 2013, the largest meeting of the decade to accelerate progress for women and girls. Read more...

Op-Ed: Put ladies first with education and contraception in Tanzania

By: Suzanne Ehlers and Halima Shariff; Originally posted in the Global Post

Empowering Tanzania’s next generation of women means committing to contraception today.

As First Ladies from around the world, including Michelle Obama, gather in Tanzania on Tuesday to talk about women’s empowerment, it’s crucial that both education and contraception are addressed. Tanzania has one of the world’s youngest populations, with nearly 45 percent under the age of 15. That represents a huge number of young women who will soon face choices about education, careers, sex, childbearing and marriage.

Contraception and Gamified Advocacy

By: Jill Sheffield, Women Deliver and Matti Navellou, Global Poverty Project; Originally posted on Huffington Post

It's time to modernize advocacy efforts to empower girls and women.

222 million women currently lack access to modern contraception. That's 222 million women who can't plan their fertility, and 222 million women who can't plan their lives.

As notable policymakers, government leaders, civil society representatives and corporate leaders come together this week to discuss the global health and empowerment of girls and women at the 3rd Women Deliver Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - now is the time to rethink effective advocacy in this area. Read more...

Women Deliver Catalyzes Conversations With Young People about Reproductive Health

By: Purnima Mane, President and CEO of Pathfinder International; Originally posted on Huffington Post

The first official day of the 3rd annual Women Deliver Conference just wrapped up. Perhaps the biggest takeaway here so far is the incredible presence and engagement of young people.

More than 100 young leaders have travelled from around the world to share their experiences, energy, and wisdom. Each of these young leaders is working to improve the health and well-being of women and girls in their communities. They joined a catalyzing pre-conference event on Monday that inspired Pathfinder's Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Advisor Callie Simon to share, "These young leaders here rock my world. Days like these that make it all worth it." Read more...

Partner Spotlight: Creating the Healthiest Generation Ever

By:  Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Last year, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) joined other independent organizations, governments, and private foundations at the London Summit on Family Planning in committing to expand women’s access to contraception around the world.

The London Summit set an ambitious goal for the global community: to increase access to contraception for 120 million women living in the world’s poorest countries by 2020. Read more...

 

Time to Bridge the Gap for Women’s Health

By: Serra Sippel and Zeda Rosenberg; Originally posted on Huffington Post

Nearly 20 years ago, the global community gathered at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo and declared -- for the first time -- that a woman's right and ability to control her reproductive health was fundamental to her well-being and key to global development. That meeting sparked two decades of advances for women, and the pace has been accelerating. In just the past year, the London Summit on Family Planning led to unprecedented pledges to increase access to products and services for women in developing countries, a UN Commission called for increased access to life-saving maternal health products, and the UN created new policy standards to end violence against women and girls. Read more...

New Study Finds Little Progress in Meeting Demand for Contraception in the Poorest Countries

Women in Poorest Countries Who Want to Avoid Pregnancy Are Three Times as Likely to Have an Unmet Need for Modern Methods as Women in Higher-Income Developing Countries

A new study by the Guttmacher Institute finds that within the developing world, the poorest countries are lagging far behind higher-income developing countries in meeting the demand for modern contraception. Between 2003 and 2012, the total number of women wanting to avoid pregnancy and in need of contraception increased from 716 million to 867 million, with growth concentrated among women in the 69 poorest countries where modern method use was already very low. The study, "Trends in Contraceptive Need and Use in Developing Countries in 2003, 2008, 2012: An Analysis of National Surveys" by Jacqueline E. Darroch and Susheela Singh, is published in the latest issue of The Lancet. Read more...

Partner Spotlight: Malaysia - World’s No.1 in Condoms

By: The Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council

The Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC) is proud to support Women Deliver 2013 to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Here is a corporate video of MREPC. Read more...

 

Partner Spotlight: Unsafe Abortion—The Preventable Public Health Crisis

By: Sharon L. Camp, President and CEO of The Guttmacher Institute

An estimated 40 million abortions took place in the developing world last year. Most of these procedures were clandestine and unsafe, taking a terrible toll on women’s lives. Every year, 47,000 women die from unsafe abortion and millions more are injured—some seriously and permanently. These deaths and injuries are almost entirely preventable. Read more...

What’s Your Method?: A Blog Series on Contraception

By: Gary Darmstadt and Monica Kerrigan; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

What's Your Method? is a blog series featured in the Impatient Optimists, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation blog. The series offers a window into many of the contraceptive options for women and girls around the world. Each day, the series will publish one or more posts on these methods from some of partners working everyday to ensure that these methods truly become options for the millions of women and girls who want and need them. Read more...

My Hope for 2030: Universal Access to Contraception

By: Dana Hovig, CEO of Marie Stopes International; Originally posted on Impatient Optimists

Bill Gates recently asked people to tell him their hopes and dreams were for 2030. For me there can only be one: that by 2030 we are finally living in the golden age of family planning. One in which everyone has access to whatever type of contraception they want, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are. If we are to reach this golden age though, we must keep an ever watchful eye on results and impact, and make sure family planning services are available to the people who need them most. Read more...

The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) Relaunches Website

The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception's (ICEC) mission is to expand access to emergency contraception (EC) around the world, with a focus on developing countries. EC is a safe contraceptive method that offers women a valuable second chance to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse has taken place; it is especially valuable in case cases of rape of sexual coercion, but it is still underutilized in much of the world. ICEC brings together over 2,000 health care providers, pharmacists, researchers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and others committed to our mission. Read more...

FP2020 Reference Group Launched to Advance Family Planning Commitments Made at London Summit

Leadership group announced for the landmark Family Planning 2020 partnership to help provide an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries with access to voluntary family planning information, contraceptives and services.

NEW YORK: Eighteen leaders from civil society, governments, multi-lateral organizations, technical institutions and foundations are participating on the “Reference Group” for Family Planning 2020 (FP2020). The partnership was a key outcome of the London Summit on Family Planning convened by the UK Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on July 11, 2012. Read more...

The Philippines Passes Reproductive Health Bill in Second Reading

In a historic vote, Philippines political leaders passed a Reproductive Health Bill on a second reading after 14 years of debate in Congress. The bill aims to provide universal access to basic health services, including contraception and information on sexual and reproductive health.

The sponsor of the bill, Albay province Representative Edcel Lagman, said that the bill was about more than just reproductive health, but about “human rights, maternal and infant health and sustainable development.”  Read more...

Making Life-Saving Commodities Available for Women and Children

By: Mary Beth Hastings, Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) Vice President

It’s not that we can’t do it. We have the ability to save the lives of almost every one of the 290,000 women who die each year as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, in addition to millions of children. A new report – released with little fanfare – by the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children details how we can save 6 million lives over five years simply by improving access to 13 vital products. Read more...

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