What does gorilla conservation have in common with the provision of contraceptives to women? How does rural-urban migration contribute to global warming? What does city planning in Kenya have to do with coastal erosion in the Philippines?
On Thursday, the international community recognises World Population Day, a time of assessment, discussion and projections for the future that necessarily gives great weight to the rights of women and girls and particularly their sexual and reproductive health.
“If I am thirsty and want a bottle of Coca-Cola I can get it, no matter where in the world I am. Why can’t I get contraceptives or sexual heathcare?” asked Carlos Jimmy Macazana Quispe, a youth representative from Peru currently in Kuala Lumpur for the third edition of the Women Deliver global conference on the "health and well-being of women and girls."
Every three years since 2007, a global advocacy organisation called Women Deliver
has convened an international conference to talk about issues relating to the health and well-being of girls and women.
Victoria J. married in 2009 at age 14, and became pregnant shortly after. “I started labour in the morning on a Friday …. The nurse kept checking and saying I would deliver safely. On Monday she said I was weak.
A 25-year-old mother of five hailing from Senegal’s eastern Tambacounda province believes that contraceptives damage the womb and cause health problems in the long term, such as a rise in blood pressure and chronic headaches.
Despite staggering advances in medical science and technology over the years, women around the world continue to suffer gravely as a result of inadequate access to basic reproductive health services.
At perhaps a critical turning point in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, the U.S. government, the single largest funder in that fight, on Thursday unveiled a major new strategy
for pushing towards achieving an “AIDS-free generation”, the stated U.S. goal.
Since the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations has consistently maintained that family planning is a basic human right to be exercised by all - not just the wealthy and otherwise privileged.
Thirty-year-old Shahida Saleem, who was not educated past the tenth grade, is a mother of two, living with her family in Karachi. Six months ago she suffered a miscarriage and her doctor, concerned about her anaemic condition, advised her to space out her next pregnancy by taking contraceptives.
Pressure from the Catholic Church, social stigma, a lack of information about sexuality and reproductive health and limited access to reproductive healthcare services are putting the lives of hundreds of thousands of women across Eastern Europe at risk.
“This is just a trailer of the horror that awaits us,” says noted demographer Farid Midhet, referring to Pakistan’s bulging population and the possibly corresponding link to rising crime, including murders, robberies, rioting and extremist activity.
Each year, 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth. 50,000 of them die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 95 percent of those births occur in developing countries.
Improving family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies in developing countries, as well as assuring girls’ access to education, and women’s participation in the economy, are essential components of a sound development policy, according to Western experts and African activists.
It is midmorning at the Kanungu Health Centre IV and the queue of patients grows as more people start to arrive for treatment at this rural facility more than 400 kilometres outside the Ugandan capital of Kampala.