Letter to the African Heads of State (Sign Your Name!)

It is a simple truth: The Millennium Development Goals will not be achieved in Africa without addressing sexual and reproductive health. In 2006, recognizing that women and girls deliver enormous social and economic benefits to their families, communities, and nations, the African Union boldly adopted a short-term plan to achieve the MDGs and save women’s lives in their continent: The Maputo Plan of Action. You understood the needs and realities of your countries, you came together, and you adopted a plan that moved sexual and reproductive health higher on Africa’s political agenda. We commend you for taking the lead in addressing sexual and reproductive health, including maternal health and family planning.

Now, the Maputo Plan of Action is about to expire, and we’re calling on you to reenergize your efforts to achieve the goals that you set in 2006. It’s time to build on the legacy of the Maputo Plan, and to move forward with renewed determination to save the lives of millions of women and girls. [Read more...]

Guttmacher Institute Releases Two New Reports from African Region

This past week the New York-based Guttmacher Institute has released two new reports - one documenting the benefits of increased investment in family planning in Ethiopia and another on how lack of awareness of abortion law is a barrier to better health in Ghana.

For more information on either report, please click through to keep reading or visit

Young Advocates: 10 Ways to Get Involved and Take Action

Looking for an opportunity to become more involved in women's health? Keep reading to find out 10 ways you can make a difference this summer.

Midwifery Symposium at the Women Deliver 2010 Conference

The Symposium on Strengthening Midwifery: Saving Lives and Promoting Health of Women and Newborns took place 5 June 2010 - 6 June 2010 in the days leading up to the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington, D.C. Capitalizing on the momentum pre-conference, the symposium convened over 200 midwives and others with midwifery skills, leading UN agencies, civil society, policy makers and donors (multi-lateral and bilateral) engaged globally in strengthening midwifery education and quality of midwifery services. The primary aim was to build the consensus required to make a fundamental push for investments in strengthened midwifery services, including education, regulation and association, as a way to reach MDGs 4, 5 and 6. The result of the symposium was a joint statement: A Global Call to Action: Strengthen Midwifery to Save Lives and Promote Health of Women and Newborns.

Women Deliver 2010 Did More

By: Frances Kissling, a member of the Women Deliver Conference team and is a visiting scholar at the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, U.S., orginally posted at Impact, the magazine for PSI

Richard Horton,the editor of the The Lancet, called the 2010 Women Deliver conference “the most significant event for the future of women and children in 20 years.” What, might we ask, would lead Horton, a man not known for extravagant praise, to make such a claim for a conference? Even if it were one that brought together 3,200 experts and advocates including UN agency heads and the Secretary-General, ministers of health, parliamentarians, health workers, young professionals, and women’s and human rights advocates to talk about maternal mortality and raise public awareness about the need for more funding and better strategies to end maternal death and injury? Has not the world heard over and over again that more money is needed for every development and humanitarian cause in the world to the point of donor fatigue?

Top 5 Highlights from the Women Deliver 2010 Conference

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the second Women Deliver global conference. To put world leaders on notice that the time for action on maternal health is now, 3,400 advocates, policymakers, development leaders, health care professionals, youth, advocates, and media from 146 countries converged on Washington, DC on June 7-9 at Women Deliver 2010. More than 800 speeches and presentations were given at the six plenaries and 120 breakout sessions. The heads of five UN agencies, plus the Secretary-General of the United Nations, attended. Thirty countries, UN agencies, the World Bank, corporations, and foundations helped support Women Deliver. Please click through for highlights and recaps of the conference.

G20 Leaders Agree to Discuss International Development Issues

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

On Sunday, the G20 Summit, a group of government leaders from 20 countries, followed up on the outcomes of the G8 meetings the day before that promised $7.3 billion to maternal and child health. The G20 usually focuses on matters pertaining to the international financial system, while the G8 talks about broader development issues like solving global poverty. For the first time ever, the G20 agreed to set up a working group on international development issues, giving itself a formalized a role in helping poor countries.

There were two key paragraphs that will affect the maternal and child health communities in the communiqué that was released by the G20...

Promising Steps Toward International Women’s Health

By: Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, originally posted on The Huffington Post

While the World Cup has united people around TV sets across the world over the past weeks, another more radical act of global unity took place. This past weekend the world's leading governments came together and talked about women. For the first time the Group of 8's annual summit, which took place in Canada's tourist and wine region of Muskoka, Ontario, elevated the importance of women and girls on the world stage by making maternal and child health the flagship commitment of its development agenda. This new commitment to women and children rightly aims to broadly address these health needs, and includes family planning among the essential health interventions for women.

G8 Communiqué Commits to Maternal Health, Child Health, and Family Planning; Safe Abortion Absent

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

The G8 leaders have released their communiqué, the consensus reached during the last two days of discussions. As we’ve blogged about over the past days, Canada placed maternal and child health at the forefront of the G8 discussion. As the communiqué states:

“Progress towards MDG 5, improving maternal health, has been unacceptably slow. Although recent data suggests maternal mortality has been declining, hundreds of thousands of women still lose their lives every year, or suffer injury, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Much of this could be prevented with better access to strengthened health systems, and sexual and reproductive health care and services, including voluntary family planning. Progress on MDG 4, reducing child mortality, is also too slow. Nearly 9 million children die each year before their fifth birthday. These deaths profoundly concern us and underscore the need for urgent collective action. We reaffirm our strong support to significantly reduce the number of maternal, newborn and under five child deaths as a matter of immediate humanitarian and development concern. Action is required on all factors that affect the health of women and children. This includes addressing gender inequality, ensuring women’s and children’s rights and improving education for women and girls."


The Numbers Game: The G8 Commits $5 Billion

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

Following up on Canada’s pledge of $1.1 billion of new money over five years, the G8 countries pledge a total of $5 billion. Bolstered by another $2.3 billion from six non-G8 countries, the Gates Foundation, and the UN Foundation, that brings the total contributions to maternal and child health to $7.3 billion.

“Some countries pledged relatively more than others, at least relative to the size of their economies,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “Obviously the differences in pledges have to do with differences in priorities, but also differences in financial situations.”

Oh Canada! It’s Good News for Maternal Health

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed $1.1 billion in new spending over five years for maternal and child health programs in poor countries, bringing total spending to almost $3 billion, today at the G8 summit.

Canada already devotes $1.75 billion for existing programs to maternal health over the next five years, meaning the additional funds will bring the total mix of new and existing funds to $2.85-billion.

LIVE BLOG: Follow Along as We Liveblog the G8/G20

Click through to follow the liveblog updates!

Accountability a Key Issue for the G8/G20 and Beyond

By: Janna Oberdorf, Communications Manager for Women Deliver

“You need to keep your doors open to speak to us. You are accountable to the people who elected you,” Lysa John from the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) told the leaders of the G8 at a press conference for the Make Poverty History campaign this morning.

Accountability is a key issue in both this year’s G8/G20 summits, and in the larger context of providing the essential services to all women in developing countries to meet MDG5 by 2015. In order to truly reduce maternal deaths, governments need to follow through on the promises they’ve made at previous international and national summits. As civil society, we need to keep watch. Governments and the international community must commit to developing better monitoring and accountability mechanisms and channels for community engagement that address all the many barriers to maternal and newborn health care if we are going to make progress.

A Tragedy That Doesn’t Have to Happen

By: Agnes Odhiambo, originally posted on The Huffington Post

Nairobi -- Nineteen-year-old Christine Nyaboke became pregnant in 2005. She was in labor for three days at home with a traditional birth attendant because her mother had no money to take her to hospital. She had a stillbirth, and later discovered that her body was painfully damaged. Nyaboke, not her real name, had a fistula, a severe childbirth injury that leaves its victims constantly leaking urine and feces. As a result, she was shunned and abused by former friends and others in her community. She could not leave home for social events, to look for work or even to go to church. She became depressed and contemplated suicide.

She was just one of the more than 50 women and girls I interviewed late last year who suffered obstetric fistula. Unless it is surgically repaired, it ruins their lives. With the G-8 planning to discuss maternal health at its summit meeting this week in Canada, I can't help but think of how these girls' and women's lives would not have been torn apart if they had access to appropriate health care, including family planning services, at the time of their pregnancy and childbirth.

Five Action Steps To Take for the G8/G20

This week, G8 and G20 leaders will meet to discuss how to best spend international aid in order to meet development goals.  We know the answer: Women are at the heart of the MDGs, and investing in women pays. Make your voice heard!  Click through to read five action steps you can take.

New Campaigns on Maternal and Child Mortality Buoyed by Progress Reported on MDGs

Updated data on mortality rates among mothers and young children are likely to encourage G8 leaders, who at their meeting later this week will make this health issue – long considered a neglected area of international development efforts – a 2010 priority.

According to the United Nations annual assessment of progress on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), released today, the number of deaths among children under the age of 5 has dropped from 12.6 million in 1990 to an estimated 8.8 million in 2008, corresponding to a decline in the mortality rate from 100 deaths per 1,000 live births to 72 in 2008 (a 28 per cent decline). But progress is falling short of the MDG target under Goal 4, for a two-thirds reduction in childhood mortality rates between 1990 and 2015, and millions of children continue to die each year at a tragically young age.  

Letter To the Leaders of the G8

To the Leaders of the G8,

Ten years ago, your governments signed and agreed to the UN Millennium Development Goals, including MDG 5 to improve maternal health. With only five years to the 2015 deadline, MDG 5 is significantly off-track. If we are to reach MDG 5 by 2015, the time is now to take action and implement proven strategies and solutions to save the lives of women and girls worldwide. It is time for progress, not just promises. It is time to deliver for women. [Read more...]

On the Eve of the G8: Waiting for the Rubber to Hit the Road

By: Jill Sheffield, president of Women Deliver, originally posted at The Huffington Post

Prime Minister Stephen Harper couldn't make it to the Women Deliver conference earlier this month, where nearly 3,500 advocates and leaders from 146 countries gathered to support action on maternal health, but thankfully his Minister of International Cooperation, Bev Oda, could. She will surely carry back to Canada the message that rang out from the thousands of voices present: it's time to deliver for women. Invest in women, it pays.

On the eve of the G8 and G20 Summits, Harper should heed this message and consider carefully as he gets ready to unveil the Muskoka Iniative -- hopefully a plan with a bold vision and a significant funding scheme. After the tremendous momentum that has built around maternal health as a key development issue, the G8 Summit should not be a denouement but an important stepping stone on the way to achieving our goal. Read more...

Making the Final Push for Political Will

By: Kate Dilley, Administrative Coordinator at Management Sciences for Health, originally posted at haba na haba, hujaza kibaba

One of the most striking admissions I heard during the Women Deliver 2010 conference in Washington DC (June 7-9) was that the major challenge facing maternal health improvement is a lack of political will. Kathleen Sebelius, the US Secretary for Health and Human Services, suggested that the problem with improving maternal mortality lay not with the lack of knowledge or interventions, but the political will to put that knowledge to action, the will to make maternal mortality a priority of governments, the will to stand up and say that the lives of women matter, and we MUST do something about it. Read more...

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...

‹ First  < 20 21 22 23 24 >  Last ›


Women Deliver 

588 Broadway, Suite 905
New York, NY 10012 USA

Tel: +1.646.695.9100
Fax: + 1 646.695.9145

Email: info [at]


Join the
Mailing List

Click here to join the mailing list.