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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...

2015+: Join Our Critical Online Discussion Forum on the Future of Reproductive and Maternal Health

you_are_invited.jpg

With the deadlines for the Millennium Development Goals and the International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action fast approaching, Women Deliver is calling on the entire reproductive and maternal health community—from policymakers to health workers to advocates—to participate in an online discussion to shape the future of our field.

Join this critical global conversation at www.knowledge-gateway.org/womendeliver and weigh in on where we are, where we need to be, and how we need to get there. This means taking stock of lessons learned, challenges ahead, and tackling the critical question: What will—and what must—happen to the MDGs and ICPD after 2015? Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Programs In Nigeria Set The Bar High

By: Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Associate

In Northern Nigeria, 1 in 23 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth. In fact, 10% of maternal deaths, globally, occur there; and rates of newborn and child mortality are also amongst the highest in the world. Read more...

DFID Committed to Putting Families First in a World of 7 Billion People

On 31 October 2011, global population will pass the 7 billion mark - more than double the number of people who were alive 50 years ago. Most of this growth is taking place in the world’s poorest countries. This will add to the pressures that their governments face to provide basic services like health and education for their people. Read more...

Corporate Buzz: Private Sector and UNFPA Join Forces to Address our World at 7 Billion

 By: Kristin Rosella, Program Associate, Strategic Partnerships, Women Deliver

Earlier this week, SAP, Churchill Club, and UNFPA co-hosted the high-level conversation “Innovating for a World of 7 Billion.” The event, which marked the official beginning of the 7-day countdown to 7 billion, gathered industry thought-leaders from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities that population growth presents. Read more...

G(irls)20 Summit Communiqué Lists Recommendations for G20 Leaders on Closing Gender Gap

Girls20-Logo_France-URL.jpgDelegates participating in the G(irls)20 Summit in Paris presented French President Nicholas Sarkozy with a communiqué featuring recommendations on how G20 leaders can help reduce gender inequality and recognize the pivotal role women and girls play in advancing the global economy. Drafted by 21 young delegates -- all women under the age of 20 -- the communiqué features more than 30 specific recommendations on gender-based violence and inequality; education, training, and employment; political, economic, and social representation; and health; designed to influence global leaders convening at the G20 meetings in Cannes, France next month. Read more...

The World At 7 Billion: Sustaining Our Future

By: Dr. Aoife Kenny, Volunteer at Women Deliver

Yesterday, Columbia University’s Earth Institute, held a public event to explore the environmental and social impact of our global population reaching 7 billion this year, and highlighted the need for women's empowerment to be at the core of any plans that look to create sustainability.

Joel Cohen, a Professor of Populations at Columbia University, gave the keynote address and discussed how decelerating population growth is essential to global development and to addressing our environmental crisis. He believes in “empowering women to be able to have the number of children they want, and educating them, so they are able to decide.” Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Meeting the Reproductive Needs of Refugee Women

By: Rati Bishnoi, Special Projects Intern

Somali_Women.jpgIn 2008, while attempting to escape fighting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Fadhumo* fled the city with two of her seven children. After seeking shelter in the Bariga Bosasso refugee settlement, she was eventually reunited with her sister and remaining children.

Security was limited, however, and the then-pregnant Fadhumo was raped by two men. “I tried to fight them off but they were much stronger. They beat me viciously, breaking both my wrists. They raped me repeatedly without caring that I was pregnant,” Fadhumo told the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). As a result of the rape, Fadhumo lost her unborn child and fell into a deep depression. Her ability to support herself or her other children diminished. Thankfully, Fadhumo is now rebuilding her life, has re-launched her grocery business and joined a support group for rape survivors. Read more...

2015+: Achieving Universal Access Requires More Than Health Services

By: Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity

2015+.JPGThe International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadlines are coming up in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and will quickly pass. What will come next? Deadline extensions? A single health MDG? A combined solution of a new mechanism with new deadline? When it comes to maternal health—to women’s health—does this matter? 

Consider the ICPD goal of universal access to reproductive health through the primary health system by 2015. The goal was adopted in 2007 as a target for reaching MDG 5 on maternal health. Universal access to reproductive health through primary care is not merely access to contraceptive supplies, or safe delivery in pregnancy. Read more...

UN Resolution on Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Adopted

By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects ManagerUN_Maternal_Mortality.jpg

Last week on September 28th, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution reaffirming the importance of addressing maternal mortality and morbidity, and calling for direct action to save mothers’ lives. Specifically, the resolution calls for the development of practical guidance, through an expert workshop, to assist States, the United Nations system and all stakeholders in applying human-rights based frameworks to programs and policies aimed at preventing maternal death and disability. Read more...

World Contraception Day: Family Planning is More Than Smart Economics

By: Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver and Elisabeth van der Steenhoven, Director of WO=MEN, Dutch Gender Platform

In just a few weeks, the world’s population will surpass seven billion. This intimidating figure should be a critical reminder to all of us—especially advocates and donor countries—of a promise we have yet to deliver on: ensuring access to family planning for women around the world. Read more...

World Contraception Day: The Importance of Educating Young Women

Get Involved: Add Your Own Perspectives At The Conversations For A Better World Blog Series

By: Saba Ismail, one of the Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders and program manager of the “Sahailee Hotline”

In Pakistan, talking about sexual and reproductive health, sexuality and contraception is considered taboo. The truth is, Pakistan is a conservative country and the people here have feudal norms and culture. Young people cannot talk about contraception nor discuss it with their friends – when they do, they are considered vulgar. They’re not allowed to ask questions about topics like contraception because their use is considered a sin, and some doctors won’t give their patients permission to use contraception because they consider it anti-Islamic. According many people’s religious beliefs, women shouldn’t use contraception because children are “a gift from God” and we should not reject such a precious gift. The only way doctors recommend that husbands and wives stop having children is by avoiding intercourse altogether – they make no mention of modern contraception. People here believe that if someone does not want to produce children, they should just avoid intercourse. Read more...

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