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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...

GAVI Takes First Steps to Introduce Vaccines Against Cervical Cancer and Rubella

DHAKA, 17 November 2011 – Responding to demand from developing countries, the GAVI Alliance will take the first steps towards the introduction of Human papillomavirus and rubella vaccines, the GAVI Board announced on Thursday. 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

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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...

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...

USAID Partners With Kimberly-Clark to Help Babies and Moms in Andean Nations

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Agency for International Development and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a global manufacturer of health and hygiene products, announced today that they will work together to improve maternal and child health in the Andean region, starting in Colombia and Ecuador.

The new partnership will link the U.S. Government's Global Health and Feed the Future initiatives to Kimberly-Clark's existing programs, which already reach thousands of new and expecting mothers in poor communities. Read more...

2015+: Reclaiming A Seat At The Table

A Call for Engagement by the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Community

By: Alicia Ely Yamin is Director of the Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children at the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University. She served on the 2011 PMNCH Commitments Report advisory Panel.

2015+.JPGIt is understandable that the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) communities have generally maintained a critical distance from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) process, as MDG 5 represented a dramatic departure from the hard-won, holistic vision of reproductive health set out in the 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and reaffirmed in the subsequent Beijing Declaration. Read more...

Celebrate Solutions: Bringing Light and Improved Economic Livelihoods to Rajasthan

By: Madeline Taskier, Strategic Partnerships Associate at Women Deliver

barefoot.jpgAt only 12 years old, Kavita* stopped attending school to help her family with housework. By 15, she was married to a man from a village in the Ajmer District of Rajasthan, a western state in India. In this new village, she taught young children during the day and attended classes at night to improve her literacy. It was through this local literacy program, Kavita was approached by leaders of The Barefoot College; a new initiative trying to develop a cohort of female solar engineers. 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...

Andean Nations Unite to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

This past week, a diverse group of stakeholders from six countries- Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Columbia and Venezuela-  joined together to celebrate Andean Week for Teen Pregnancy Prevention. This event brings together youth organizations and government bodies in collaboration with partners from the Andean Plan to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (PLANEA) in a series of activities and interactive events. With the aim of reaching communities and policy-makers, these activities are designed to raise awareness about the issue of teen pregnancy and what can be done to scale-up prevention efforts. 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: Let’s Use Social Media

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

By: Bridget Akudo Nwagbara, Chair of the Youth Health Workers Advocates, Nigeria – MNCH

Social media has revolutionized the way people across the globe interact with one another. At the recent, the Social Good Summit, initiatives like Shot@Life, which was launched with the intent to leverage online communities to deliver health care to marginalized and vulnerable populations, were lauded. Young people are leading this revolution! And as such, they should be the target of more initiatives that use social media. Read more...

Women Deliver Has Strong Presence During UNGA Week

The third week of September was a busy one for Women Deliver. The United Nations General Assembly and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), amongst other events, filled the city with Heads of State and agents of change, providing ample opportunity to discuss maternal health, sexual and reproductive rights and gender equity.  Here are a few of our highlights:

  • The World Bank: “Realizing the Demographic Dividend, Challenges and Opportunities for Ministers of Finance and Developmentpanel focused on the policy actions necessary in family planning, health, education, gender equality, and labor market policies, if positive economic returns are to be secured. Women Deliver Founder and President, Jill Sheffield, who spoke at the event, reinforced this point by stating: "The fact is: that women drive economic development. They operate the majority of small businesses and farms in developing countries and their unpaid work equals roughly 1/3 of the GDP." Read more...

Corporate Buzz: A Thousand Tiny Knots - On the Way to One Million Health Care Workers

By: Joy Marini, Director Corporate Contributions, Johnson & JohnsonDai_Moms.jpg

A few months ago, I was sitting in a room full of “dai-moms” -- lay midwives in Dhaka, Bangladesh. These women are amazing. One of the most intriguing things about them is how they keep track of their activities. They use knotted ropes that they tuck carefully into their waistbands. Many of these midwives cannot read or write, so they keep an account of all births that they attend with the rope of tiny knots. Every knot represents a birth. Every knot represents a life. The dai-moms even remember who is represented by each knot and return to the families for newborn checks. Our partners -- Narigrantha Prabartana and the Global Fund for Women -- support these dai-moms with education, camaraderie and motivation, all of which are in short supply in the harsh, remote environments where the dai-moms work. Read more...

World Contraception Day: “Hombres y mujeres jóvenes y el acceso a anticonceptivos”?

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

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What Is The Difference Between How Young Women And Men Learn About And Access Birth Control Methods? And Why?

By: Yunuén Flores, Director of the Gender Program

I’m a young female activist and even more importantly, I live in a Latin American country: Mexico. I come from a culture that is patriarchal, machista, religious and full of taboos. Ah, and I already told you that I’m a woman! So I have lived my life with different rules than the men in my community, typecast by social norms that we ourselves have created. Read more...

2015+: Ensuring Women’s Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean

By: Mabel Bianco, President of Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer – FEIM

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Prior to the creation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and particularly MDG 5 (to improve maternal health), there were many international agreements for improving the status of all citizens, including those focused on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Although these international agreements, including the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Programme of Action (PoA) and the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA), preceded the MDGs, the responsibilities and commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights that governments and donors established are broader than those encompassed in MDG5 and 5B. Read more...

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