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Global Parliamentarians Summit Calls for Funding to Maternal and Reproductive Health

The 6th Annual G8 Global Parliamentarians Summit was held on 10-11 June 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. The meeting gathered together 100 parliamentarians from around 50 countries representing G8 and G20 nations to discuss the issue of maternal health - MDG5. At the end of a highly interactive two-day conference, the law-makers adopted a strong parliamentary appeal which - as previous years - will be fed into the G8 process and presented to the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, host of the Muskoka G8 Heads of State Summit scheduled for 25-26 June. The appeal urged donor governments to meet the international targets of 0.7 GNI for development assistance, devoting a significant portion of this funding to maternal and reproductive health, including family planning. Read more...

Statement from the First Ladies of Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Zanzibar

Hello. We are the first ladies of Ghana, Sierra Leone and Zanzibar and are honored to stand before you today. We believe that the first human right is the right to safe and healthy lives. Maternal mortality denies women prematurely that right and the rate of maternal deaths speaks loudly about the health status of a country. The problems women share recognize no borders. Read more...

Leadership and Management, a Key Ingredient for Improving Maternal Health

By: Dr. Morsi Mansour, Principal Program Associate on the Leadership, Management and Sustainability Program at Management Sciences for Health

Last week at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC, Melinda Gates announced that the Gates Foundation  is committing $1.5 Billion in new grant money for maternal health. “Women and children have moved up on the global agenda, and I’m here to tell you that’s where they are going to stay,” said Gates.

In most developing countries, women and girls are the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the population because of entrenched inequalities. MSH believes that health is a human right; equal access is essential to all aspects of health care. Leadership and management is a key ingredient for improving maternal health – it’s the human element of a health system. Leadership and management is often a missed ingredient. But, effective, simple interventions can save a lot of lives.

Parliamentarians at Women Deliver 2010 Commit to Turning Dialogue Into Action

“The biggest enemy of women’s health and rights is political indifference”, Jill Sheffield, President of Women Deliver remarked during the opening plenary session. The Parliamentarians’ Forum on “Delivering Solutions, Delivering Resources, Delivering Leadership: The Role of Parliamentarians in advancing Maternal Health” was dedicated to prevent just that and discussed the way forward to achieve MDG 5 in the remaining five years from a Parliamentarians’ angle.

The Parliamentarians’ Forum culminated in a Parliamentarians’ Statement. Amongst others, Parliamentarians called for additional US $12 billion a year to be invested in women and girls and  to actively work towards the establishment of a global funding mechanism for family planning, mothers and children with other international donors. The statement urges Ministers to establish realistic and verifiable annual action plans for reaching individual MDG targets with a special emphasis on MDG 5 (a and b) to be presented at the UN High Level Meeting on the MDGs and commit to take a leading role in communicating the societal, economic, political and cultural benefits of investing in women and girls to key stakeholders. The full statement is attached.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Addresses the Women Deliver 2010 Conference

Watch Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, as she addresses and opens the Women Deliver 2010 conference and calls for greater attention and action for maternal health, reproductive health, and women's health around the world. "Women deliver for the world," she says. "Now the world needs to deliver for women."

BBC: ‘Momentum’ on Tackling Maternal Deaths

By Jane Dreaper, Originally posted at BBC News
Health correspondent, BBC News, at the Women Deliver conference in Washington DC


Campaigners have pledged to keep up pressure on finance ministers to fund efforts to stop women dying in pregnancy and childbirth.

Women Deliver president, Jill Sheffield, told meeting delegates that the economic arguments were "dramatic". It comes after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a boost in funds for women and child health. World leaders agreed 10 years ago that maternal deaths should be reduced by 75% by 2015. Progress on this - the fifth Millennium Development Goal (MDG) - has until recently been slow - but activists say there is now a sense of momentum. Around 350,000 women around the world die each year from preventable problems such as infections or blood clots. Often, they have not had access to basic care during or after their pregnancy.

Help spend Bill and Melinda’s money!

originally posted at Conversations for a Better World

This week, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have promised to spend $1.5 billion on family planning, nutrition and general health of women and children in developing countries over the next five years.  But they didn't say exactly /how/ they will invest the money. This is where your ideas come into the picture!  more...

Women Deliver 2010: Moving Commitments Into Action

By: Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 9 – The Women Deliver 2010 conference ended here today with new energy and commitments for action for women’s health from members of parliament, young people and the rest of the more than 3,000 participants.

“My government, like most governments, will react if public pressure is applied to them,” said Dr. Keith Martin, a member of parliament in Canada, at a panel session.

Women Deliver founder and president Jill Sheffield said the three-day gathering was, in Winston Churchill’s words, “not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning” in the drive to halt the global toll of women’s deaths and disabilities from pregnancy-related causes.  more...

Rage for Justice Motivates Young People

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 9 – Cell phone networks, edu-tainment, basketball teams, at least one kidney and great helpings of courage in the face of threats and even murder are bringing young people to the cutting edge of political change for women worldwide, a Women Deliver 2010 panel discussion demonstrated today.

Sarah Nkhoma of Malawi told the 3,000 conference participants that organizing university students to speak realistically about HIV/AIDS risks and sexual behavior earned her an arrest and a severe beating that left her hospitalized. “People don’t want to deal with the fact that young people have sex,” she said. “They owe me a kidney.”  more...

Let Women Deliver For Us All

By: Karl Hofmann, CEO and President of PSI, originally posted on The Huffington Post

In April, the Lancet released some encouraging statistics on maternal health: maternal deaths dropped from about 526,000 in 1980 to around 340,000 maternal deaths worldwide in 2008. This is a decline worth celebrating, but not a reason to pull back; if anything, this study should drive us to do more: to advocate for necessary policy changes and to push for funding increases for maternal health. We know progress is possible.

More than 3,200 people - everyone from world leaders to midwives working in rural Africa - will convene in Washington, D.C., today to attend the Women Deliver Conference 2010. We are meeting to map out this progress.  more...

Every Mother Counts

By: Christy Turlington, originally posted on The Huffington Post
Christy Turlington previewed her film, NO WOMAN, NO CRY Monday night at the Women Deliver 2010 conferernce

This week, nearly 3,000 people from more than 140 countries are gathering in downtown Washington D.C. as part of the world's largest international meeting of women's health and empowerment champions -- the Women Deliver Conference. At this critical time, these passionate and committed advocates are here to deliver a message that sustainable development around the globe can only be achieved if we prevent maternal deaths.

After the last Women Deliver Conference in 2007, I had my second child, traveled abroad to Peru with CARE as their Advocate for Maternal Health, and set out to make a documentary film about maternal mortality first-hand that hundreds of thousands of women die every year from pregnancy and childbirth complications, making reproductive health problems the leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 15 to 44; yet strikingly, experts estimate that 90% of these are preventable. The impact extends beyond individual lives. In fact each year millions of children are orphaned, and motherless children are twice as likely to die before the age of five. Economies suffer as well, with an estimated $15 billion lost in productivity each year.  more...

To Deliver, Women Must Push

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 7 -- Racial disparities in U.S. maternal mortality rates are “unacceptable and unconscionable” and will be addressed by recent health care reform legislation, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Women Deliver 2010 conference here today.

African American women die from pregnancy-related causes at a rate three times greater than white women do, a “pretty alarming” finding for which remedies are “long overdue,” Sebelius said.  Speaking at a panel discussion to 3,000 conference participants at closing plenary on the first day of the three-day session, Sebelius called mothers’ deaths “a moral dilemma and a political dilemma” that the Obama administration is addressing at many levels.  more...

UNFPA and CARE Announce Partnership to Improve Maternal Health Globally

WASHINGTON, D.C., 7 June 2010—Leaders from UNFPA,  United Nations Population Fund, and CARE International announced today at the Women Deliver Conference  an agreement to enhance collaboration on maternal health programs  in more than 25 countries.  This unique collaboration will bring together UNFPA’s effective work with national governments and CARE’s expertise in engaging local communities.

"No woman should die giving life. Through collaboration we can make a bigger impact to improve the health of women and girls. UNFPA partners with governments, other UN agencies and civil society to advance the health and rights of women and girls, and we welcome this new partnership with CARE," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA, when signing the agreement at the Women Deliver Conference in Washington, DC.  more...

Filling the Unmet Need for Contraception: Can We Deliver for Young Women?

Source: RH Reality Check

By Carmen Barroso, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR)

When we speak about universal access to contraceptives and the huge unmet need for family planning services that exists in the world today, the image that usually comes to mind is that of poor women in Africa. Indeed, in most countries, poor women have a much higher rate of unmet need than do women with higher incomes, and in Africa, unmet need for contraception is much higher than in other regions. More than 60 percent of women of reproductive age have an unmet need for contraception in Africa. more...

Women and Power

source: The Huffington Post

By Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

As Prime Minister of my country for nine years and the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), I believe that achieving gender equality is not only morally right, but also catalytic to development as a whole, creating political, economic, and social opportunities for women which benefit individuals, communities, countries, and the world.

This strong belief underpins my contribution at the Women Deliver event in Washington, DC during a discussion on women and power with an impressive panel of powerful women, including the creator of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington; former Chilean Prime Minister Michelle Bachelet; actress Ashley Judd; and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to Barack Obama for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

Women Deliver was launched in 2007, and works globally to focus attention on fulfilling what is called "Millennium Development Goal #5." This goal calls for a reduction in maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health globally. more...

Gates Foundation Commits $1.5 Billion for Maternal Health

Originally posted on Seattle Times

Calling on world health leaders to do more to prevent deaths of mothers and their newborn babies, Melinda Gates said today the Gates Foundation is pledging $1.5 billion over the next five years for family planning, maternal and child health and nutrition in developing countries.
 
It's the second largest donation in the foundation's history, after a $10 billion pledge over 10 years for vaccine development and delivery made in January.

Women Deliver Conference Opens with Promises of Action

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 7—It was the personal stories that resonated most.

The Women Deliver 2010 conference opened today with certified heavy hitters sending the right messages out to the world about women’s health needs: “If we act now, and act together, we can deliver for women,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about his global agencies. “You can count on us.”

Good to hear, yes. But the 3,000 attendees really caught their collective breath when Ban recalled his own birth in a home in rural Korea, and about wondering as a child why pregnant women would gaze at their shoes before going into the delivery room. It’s because they are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again, his mother told him.

Motherhood then was a life-threatening experience, and it still is in too much of the world today, Ban said. So began his life’s work, “a journey to help every woman step back into her shoes again after giving birth."  more...

Women Deliver Promises Hope Around the World

By: Tamar Abrams, originally posted on The Huffington Post

In a cavernous convention center in the heart of the Nation's Capitol, thousands of people have gathered to celebrate the role of women in the well-being of families, communities and nations. They are also gathered to push for improvements in maternal and newborn health. Women in native dress from all over the world stride purposefully through the spacious hallways -- midwives, doctors, advocates, lawyers, mothers and grandmothers, Parliamentarians, elected officials, Hollywood stars, and wide-eyed young people. It is a colorful tapestry of ethnic, age, and geographic diversity. more...

The Lancet Devotes Entire Themed Issue to Women Deliver

Large numbers of the public remain unaware of the health issues facing women and children. Women and girls make up 60% of the world’s poorest and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate. Yet with education and empowerment, they can lead healthy lives and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. To devise a plan to make women and children’s health more visible, we must listen harder to voices from those countries where most maternal and child death take place. Too often we ignore these voices. A themed issue of The Lancet covers a range of global issues on maternal, child, and newborn health.

Click here to read the entire issue and articles

Crown Princess of Denmark Becomes Patron of UNFPA to Support Women’s Health

H.R.H. Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has become Patron of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, to support the agency's work to promote maternal health and safer motherhood in more than 150 developing nations. This work is a UNFPA key priority because women have about 1 in 7 lifetime risk of maternal death in a few developing countries; compared to 1 in 17,800 in Denmark, according to the latest published United Nations estimates. more...

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