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Celebrate Solutions: Advocating for Greater Access to Female Condoms

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

FC.pngDespite continued commercial availability for more than 15 years and ongoing efforts to increase global accessibility, a massive unmet demand for female condoms still exists today. High prices—up to 30 times the price of a male condom in some places—and limited or irregular access have kept the only female-initiated contraceptive method out of reach of many women.

In particular, female condoms act as a “barrier” contraceptive, which means they physically prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Unlike other barrier contraceptives, female condoms also protect the inside and outside of the vagina, thus preventing sexually transmitted infections. Greater access to the female condom for both women and men will increase the instances of protected sex and lead to the reduction of unintended pregnancies, maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortions, and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. To help prevent these tragedies, last month on World AIDS Day, the United Kingdom committed 5 million pounds for the distribution of female condoms in Africa. Read more...

10 Maternal Health Highlights of 2011

This year has been one of forward momentum, innovative solutions and inspiring individuals. As 2011 comes to a close, it’s time to celebrate achievements and look at some of the most memorable milestones and events of the past year. Moving into 2012, we are armed with the knowledge of what success looks like. We must continue to work to ensure that girls and women are at the heart of development efforts, now and in the years to come. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Empowering Young Girls in Egypt through Youth Centers

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Eygpt.jpgIn Egypt, young girls living in rural areas often do not have the opportunity to attend school. Instead, they help their families and are socially isolated due to conservative gender norms. They often marry young and have little access to public life, as they are confined to the home to raise children and take care of their households. These girls have little access to health care, education, or peers in their communities. To break the cycle of this isolation and enable these girls to reach their full potential, the Population Council launched Ishraq  (meaning “sunrise” in Arabic) in 2001. The program brings adolescent girls from Upper Egypt together in youth centers and provides training to improve their educational, health, and social opportunities. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Bayer Health Care Increases Access to Contraceptives For Women Worldwide

Earlier this week, Bayer Health Care broadened its commitment to reproductive health supplies for women by reducing the price of its five-year contraceptive implant product, Jadelle©. The price will decrease from $21 to $19.50 per implant, and could further reduce with future large orders.

Bayer projects that with these cost savings, over half a million women who view Jadelle© as their contraceptive method of choice will now be able to access it. Potential outcomes are powerful and plentiful, including the prevention of more than 550,000 unwanted pregnancies, 255,000 abortions, 1,000 maternal deaths, and 6,000 newborn deaths. Read more...

A Formative Close to the Maternal Health Dialogue Series

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

Yesterday, in Washington, DC, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the Maternal Health Task Force, UNFPA, USAID Bureau for Global Health, and the African Population and Health Research Center co-hosted the last session of the two year maternal health dialogue series. The partners launched the report, “Delivering Solutions: Advancing Dialogue to Improve Maternal Health,” which captures the strategies and recommendations that emerged from the series.

Since December 2009, this maternal health dialogue series has hosted 28 sessions with over 100 panelists engaging in conversation and debate around some of the most pressing maternal health topics.   A total of over one thousand participants attended sessions on topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and maternal health service integration to family planning in fragile states; new applications of existing communications technologies; and addressing maternal health in urban slums. The series focused on major challenges and opportunities for moving the maternal health agenda forward, and affirmed that solutions for saving the lives of women and girls are plentiful and powerful. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Maternal Health Supplies Survey, Share Your Voice

Our colleagues at PATH are spearheading an in-depth analysis of maternal health supplies to better understand the barriers, challenges, and needs of women and health providers around the world. If you haven’t participated already, please share your experience and thoughts in the mapping survey, which PATH describes as follows:

PATH recognizes the challenges to the delivery of quality MH services and reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity are myriad and complex. The intent of this landscaping is to inform recent efforts by the broader maternal and reproductive health communities to advance maternal health supplies advocacy by building upon the lessons learned and structures created by the reproductive health supplies movement. Their specific focus on overcoming the financial, logistical, and policy-related barriers to ensuring contraceptive supplies has helped to mobilize global support for and increase access to family planning overall. Read more...

The Power Of The “Demographic Dividend”

By: Gary Darmstadt
Originally posted by: the Impatient Optimists

Kanpur.jpgI recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting at the World Bank where global health and development leaders and finance ministers from rich and poor countries met to share experiences and learning about the demographic dividend.

The concept of the demographic dividend is that when fertility rates in a country decline, fewer births take place each year, and the size of the population of individuals who are dependent on the state grows smaller. Read more...

Making Life: A Risky Proposition, A Diane Sawyer 20/20 Special

ABC News continues its year-long global health series by examining the most dangerous thing a woman can do: why so many women are dying during pregnancy and childbirth. Diane Sawyer and a team of correspondents report on a special edition of “20/20,” Friday, Dec.16 on ABC.

New York, NY, December 12, 2011 -- The numbers are staggering: every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy or childbirth – that’s about 1,000 women a day. Yet experts say that more than 80% of these deaths are totally preventable if only the mothers-to-be received proper medical care. At the bottom of the list, countries like Afghanistan, with its child brides, and Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest fertility rates in the world. The US ranks surprisingly low in the industrialized world -- number 41 on the maternal mortality list. It is an issue that experts all over the world say is “unforgiveable” because even the most basic medicine and intervention could prevent the majority of these deaths. Read on...

Celebrate Solutions: Safe Sex, HIV/AIDS, & Reproductive Health Programs Empower Kibera’s Youth

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate

Found just five kilometers southwest of Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, Kibera is one of the most densely populated urban settlements in the world. Of the nearly one million impoverished people inhabiting this rural area, it is estimated that 50% are under the age of fifteen, and 10-25% are infected with HIV/AIDS. To address the district’s economic instability and promote participatory development, the not-for-profit Carolina for Kibera (CFK) provides youth leadership and ethnic and gender cooperation through sports, young women's empowerment, and community development. Read on...

Aid Effectiveness Forum: What Does It Mean for Reproductive Health?

By: Suzanna Dennis
Originally posted by: Population Action International

Aid effectiveness and government investments directly shape the amount and quality of funding for reproductive health.  For example, the move to greater country ownership over aid has advocates concerned that governments will not sufficiently prioritize sexual and reproductive health.

Last week, global development powerbrokers convened in Busan, South Korea to assess progress towards aid effectiveness goals, develop a more inclusive global aid framework and address issues beyond aid.  The organizers of this Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4) declared it a resounding success:  They delivered a global Partnership for Development Cooperation bringing together all development actors around a shared set of development principles. Read more...

A Declaration in Support of A Global Campaign for Safe Abortion Access

Dakar, Senegal, December 2, 2011 -- The following declaration was released at the International Conference on Family Planning. A similar declaration was prepared and read by the following partners during the 6th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSHR) held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in October 2011: Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP), Concept Foundation, Women on Waves, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation East and SE Asia and Oceania Region (IPPF-ESEAOR) and South Asia Region (IPPF-SAR). Read more...

International Conference on Family Planning: Invest in Women – It Pays!

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver

This week, I was privileged to join more than 2,200 participants at the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. It was truly an amazing conference with three days of rich discussion and wonderful commitments, like those made by Dfid and the government of Senegal.
 
As the focus of this conference was on family planning, it was essential that participants not only discuss the social benefits of investing in family planning – which include a reduction of unintended pregnancies, a decrease in maternal deaths, and a decline of unsafe abortions – but also the incredible economic impact of investing in family planning. Read more...

DFID Committed to Integrating HIV and SRH Services

Today, December 1, 2011, is World Aids Day. It has been 30 years since the first case of AIDS was diagnosed, and there are more than 34 million people living with HIV today. Particularly given the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’s recent announcement that funds have been cut for new programs, the need for resources to support HIV/AIDS services and care is especially pronounced. Read more...

Family Planning Conference Brings New Funding and Declarations of Support

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager at Women Deliver

Yesterday, at the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning, Senegal’s Minister of Health announced his country’s pledge to double its investment in family planning, while the British Department for International Development (DFID) pledged an additional £35m in funding for family planning programs in developing countries. These two groundbreaking announcements have been pivotal moments at the global conference in Dakar, Senegal, where over 1,500 participants have gathered to share best practices. Read more...

Family Planning Access Will Deliver for Women In Uganda

By: Dr. Jotham Musinguzi and Jill Sheffield
Originally posted in The Independent and The Daily Monitor

ugandapregnant.jpgNext week, leaders from across Africa and around the world will meet at the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. This meeting comes at a critical time, as we examine how to navigate a world with increasingly constrained resources and create a future that fosters health and development worldwide. The meeting also occurs during World AIDS Day. Women now comprise the majority of those living with HIV in Africa, and access to male and female condoms to prevent both HIV and unwanted pregnancy is crucial. Read more...

Women’s Health Issues in a World of 7 Billion

By: Jill Sheffield, Founder and President of Women Deliver
Originally posted by The Huffington Post

yemengirls.jpgThis past month, the world met a milestone. We officially live in a world of seven billion people -- an impressive figure that drives home just how much responsibility we all have to take care of our globe, ourselves and each other. This benchmark has sparked many conversations anew, from the impact of population on the environment to the undeniable importance of contraception. But as UNFPA's recently launched State of the World's Population 2011 report points out, a world of seven billion is not a time to ask, "Are we too many?" but rather, "What can I do to make our world better?" Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Shaping our Future, Access to Reproductive Health Care in 2015

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. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Social Franchising for Women’s Health

By: Kristin Rosella and Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Group, Women Deliver

For most women around, purchasing family planning or maternal health products is much easier said than done. In some cases, price points are too high, the quality of the products is questionable, or there is little information and counseling available for women. A lack of access to high-quality commodities is one of the major remaining barriers to achieving comprehensive maternal and reproductive health for women.

Enter social franchising for health—a concept that developed from social marketing health campaigns. The idea is to create a branded network of health practitioners who provide high-quality health services to those who need them the most. Like social marketing, which applies business marketing techniques for social good (e.g., anti-smoking television commercials), social franchising applies business franchise models for social good. The primary motive of sales is not profit, but rather, providing high-quality products. Read more...

2015+: Will The Next Global Development Agenda Finally Deliver For Women And Girls?

By: Stuart Halford, Advocacy Officer, International Planned Parenthood Federation

(This editorial reflects the thoughts and views of the author, and not necessarily those of the International Planned Parenthood Federation)

2015+.JPGLate last year, Yemen, on behalf of the G77, and China put forward a resolution that was adopted by the General Assembly. The resolution entitled “Follow-up to the International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014”extended the Programme of Action (PoA) and called for an United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in 2014, to assess the status of ICPD’s implementation. It noted that the goals and objectives of the ICPD remained valid beyond 2014, but that many governments were still not on track to achieving them. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Hospitals and Clinics in Senegal Improve Access to Family Planning

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

SenegalMother.jpgThe West African nation of Senegal has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world—with 410 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. Considering an estimated five children are born per woman, it is clear that the health and safety of women in the country greatly depend on their ability to control if and when they have children.

Despite prevailing views placing emphasis on the value of larger families, more Senegalese are choosing to space their births, have fewer children, and seek long-term family planning options, Fatou Seck, a midwife at Hospital Centre for Health and Hygiene in Medina, Senegal, recently told IRIN News. Read more...

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