GENEVA, MARCH 11 – At a time when the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls are facing a stark challenge facing the risk of losing important hard-won recent advances, the Assistant Director General of WHO Flavia Bustreo stressed that women and girls must be able to decide about their health, environment and future. “Reduced funding for women’s sexual and reproductive health is a loss not only to these women, but also to their communities and society as a whole”, Bustreo said on the WHO website.
“Clear evidence shows that investing in contraception saves lives, contributes to gender equality and boosts economic development. If all women who want to avoid a pregnancy used modern contraceptives – and all pregnant women and newborns received care at the standards recommended by WHO – unintended pregnancies would reduce by an estimated 70%, abortions by 67%, maternal deaths by 67% and newborn deaths by 77% (compared to 2014)”, Bustreo said, warning that “every US$1 invested in modern contraception and good quality care for pregnant women and newborns returns an estimated US$120”.
According to Bustreo, women must be able to decide about their health and the things that influence it, including their sexual and reproductive health and environment – not least because it can lead to other life-changing decisions. If an adolescent girl does not get pregnant too young, she can stay in school longer, opening up better economic opportunities and a more independent, fulfilling future. Every additional year of schooling for a girl increases her future earnings by 10% to 20% “On International Women’s Day, we must all unequivocally reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and women’s and girls’ fundamental rights,” the Assistant Director-General of WHO and Vice-Chair of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance added.
“The past few decades have seen impressive advances in women’s health, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. At this critical juncture, we must do all that we can to ensure that we continue to move forwards, not backwards”, Bustreo said: “Quite simply, we must all do what we can to ensure that women across the globe are able to make decisions about their bodies and their environment, which will have a positive impact on their health and their futures”. (@OnuItalia)