Population Matters

Empowering Women for Better Health

November 13th, 2009

This week the World Health Organization released a report: “Women and Health: Today’s Evidence, Tomorrow’s Agenda”. The report looks at women’s health needs over their lifetime and the contribution women make to the health of society. By looking at women’s health over their lifetime the report is able to draw attention to the consequences and costs of not focusing on women’s health, particularly in their childbearing years.

Addressing women’s health is a necessary and effective approach to strengthening health systems overall-action that will benefit everyone. Improving women’s health matters to women, to their families, communities and societies at large.

Improve women’s health-improve the world.

One of the areas that the report focuses on is reproductive health and the differences in health care between the developed and developing world. One of the more startling numbers is that 99% of maternal deaths, over 500,000 a year, occur in the developing world. Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in women ages 15-49 in developing countries.

The report stresses the importance of the Millennium Development Goals in order to improve the health of women. In particular, it focuses on MDG 3, ensuring gender equality and women’s empowerment, and MDG 5, seeking to reduce maternal deaths and provide universal access to reproductive health services. MDG 3 and MDG 5 work together to build better health outcomes for women in the developing world.

Family planning is critical to bringing down maternal mortality rates in the developing world. If women do not have the power to make choices regarding their own fertility,  this can lead to unintended or mistimed pregnancies that can result in unsafe abortions, complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and a high maternal mortality rate. This is just one example of how empowering women can lead to better outcomes for women and their families.

With 2015 as the target date for achieving most of the MDGs, including MDG’s 3 and 5, it is important that donor countries sharply increase funding for women’s empowerment and voluntary family planning.  There is no time to lose.

Posted by Jennie Wetter, Program Manager

One Response to “Empowering Women for Better Health”

  1. Sherika Poggio Says:

    . . .with so much varying , it’s great refreshing to see someone with knowledge about healthy pregnancies post good useful information.

    Keep up the good work!

    much luv

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