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Silent Support is Not Enough, Speakers Say

By Joanne Omang

Political decision-makers will not invest in women’s health needs until their constituents insist on it, participants at the Women Deliver 2010 were reminded today.

In small breakout discussions and plenary sessions, speaker after speaker said “only squeaky wheels get any grease,” as one observer summed up.

Opponents of women’s reproductive rights “have created a visible and vocal constituency that makes politicians afraid to act on our concerns,” noted IPAS executive vice president Anu Kumar in a session on dealing with unsafe abortion. “Vocal and visible leaders in a vocal and visible constituency are critical aspects of moving forward.”  more...

Women and Power

source: The Huffington Post

By Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

As Prime Minister of my country for nine years and the first woman to lead the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), I believe that achieving gender equality is not only morally right, but also catalytic to development as a whole, creating political, economic, and social opportunities for women which benefit individuals, communities, countries, and the world.

This strong belief underpins my contribution at the Women Deliver event in Washington, DC during a discussion on women and power with an impressive panel of powerful women, including the creator of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington; former Chilean Prime Minister Michelle Bachelet; actress Ashley Judd; and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to Barack Obama for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.

Women Deliver was launched in 2007, and works globally to focus attention on fulfilling what is called "Millennium Development Goal #5." This goal calls for a reduction in maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health globally. more...

Women Deliver Conference Opens with Promises of Action

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 7—It was the personal stories that resonated most.

The Women Deliver 2010 conference opened today with certified heavy hitters sending the right messages out to the world about women’s health needs: “If we act now, and act together, we can deliver for women,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about his global agencies. “You can count on us.”

Good to hear, yes. But the 3,000 attendees really caught their collective breath when Ban recalled his own birth in a home in rural Korea, and about wondering as a child why pregnant women would gaze at their shoes before going into the delivery room. It’s because they are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again, his mother told him.

Motherhood then was a life-threatening experience, and it still is in too much of the world today, Ban said. So began his life’s work, “a journey to help every woman step back into her shoes again after giving birth."  more...

The Lancet Devotes Entire Themed Issue to Women Deliver

Large numbers of the public remain unaware of the health issues facing women and children. Women and girls make up 60% of the world’s poorest and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate. Yet with education and empowerment, they can lead healthy lives and lift themselves and their families out of poverty. To devise a plan to make women and children’s health more visible, we must listen harder to voices from those countries where most maternal and child death take place. Too often we ignore these voices. A themed issue of The Lancet covers a range of global issues on maternal, child, and newborn health.

Click here to read the entire issue and articles

Maternal Mortality: It’s Time for Our Leaders to Take Notice

By Martha Wainwright

Source: The Huffington Post

My story had a happy ending. Thousands more mothers would too if world leaders stick to a promise they made 40 years ago.

Once upon a time, I was working in the UK and seven months pregnant with my first child. After a show one evening, not feeling 100 percent, my husband Brad took me home to the place we were staying at in North London. I had been excited to get my last week of work over with and go home to the U.S. to prepare for our new arrival. But that night everything came crashing down. All plans flew out the window and Brad and I found ourselves in the emergency room at 2 a.m.

I was admitted right away, which scared me of course, and taken to the maternity unit. I was in pain and bleeding, but I felt calm -- believing, naively, that I was going to get out and still have a normal pregnancy. A midwife visited us and then the consultant. Then the pain became sharper, and my water broke. I yelled and the mood in the room went from calm and jovial to scary and serious. Brad took my hand and we realized that we weren't going anywhere.

Annie Lennox Appointed as International UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador

In her new role as International UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Ms Lennox will be in Washington D.C. with Mr Sidibé, from the 7-9 of June to participate in the Women Deliver 2010 conference and 2010 Global Business Coalition conference. She will use these events to advocate for a global movement to focus on the HIV-specific needs of women and girls as well as to empower women and girls so that they can better protect themselves from HIV.

Originally posted at UNAIDS.

Geneva, 2 June 2010 – The world renowned Scottish singer songwriter and women’s activist Annie Lennox has been named as International Goodwill Ambassador for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). With an award winning career spanning several decades, Ms. Lennox is one of the world’s most outstanding musical voices. Now, she renews her commitment to speak out for women and girls affected by the HIV epidemic.

A New Role for Africans in Global Maternal Health

By Dr. Fred Sai, co-host of Women Deliver 2010 and former advisor to the Ghanaian government on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. You can follow the live stream of the Women Deliver 2010 conference from June 7th to 9th at www.womendeliver.org/webcast.

Originally posted at ONE blog.

This March, the Lancet released new statistics that revealed an unprecedented drop in the number of women who die every year during pregnancy and childbirth. The study found that from 1980 to 2008, maternal deaths globally have fallen from 500,000 each year to 340,000. Having spent some 40 years working on women and children’s health in Ghana and across Africa, I welcomed this progress. But as the world celebrated, I also couldn’t help but wonder, “Where is Africa?”

World AIDS Day 2009

“The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is Universal Access and Human Rights. For me, that means doing everything we can to support countries to reach their universal access goals for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support - all the while protecting and promoting human rights.”

- UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé
2009 World AIDS Day message

High Level Meeting on Maternal Mortality - Youth Experience

Below is the speech delivered by Imane Khachani, MD, Msc, from the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights for the High-Level Meeting at the International Parliamentarians' Conference on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

A Leap Forward on Free Healthcare

UN – At a high-level gathering on the margins of the General Assembly, world leaders pledged more than US $5 billion in multi-year funding and committed to a new global Consensus for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

NGO Forum: Jill Sheffield on Integrating SRHR and the MDGs

By Jill Sheffield, President

Blazing Trails... Looking back at all the watershed milestones that emerged from the 1994 ICPD, what thrills me the most is the course that was set to acknowledge the right for all people of the world, especially women, to have access to quality sexual and reproductive health. 

First Lady of Zambia Speaks On Maternal Health

The First Lady of Zambia, Thandiwe Banda, has called for concerted efforts among stakeholders to reduce cases of maternal mortality and morbidity in her own country.

Was the G8 Summit a Success?

Last year, at the G8 in Japan, the leaders of the world paid attention to maternal health. They recognized that saving women’s lives was a great investment in the social and economic well-being of the world.

Maternal Health is a Human Right

In a fantastic op-ed in the Boston Globe, Mary Robinson and Alicia Yamin, advisory council members of the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights, discuss the issue of preventable maternal deaths as a violation of women's rights.

Mother’s Day Around the World

Sunday, May 10, 2009, is International Mother’s Day. While it is a time to honor our own mothers, this day should also remind us of the 500,000 women who die every year from complications due to pregnancy and childbirth, and spur us to take action.

Blog Action Day: Blogging Against Poverty

Today, October 15, is Blog Action Day. And here at Women Deliver, we're excited to get involved and be a part of this amazing movement. Today, thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue - poverty. The aim is to raise awareness and initiate action! And poverty is something that is at the core of maternal and newborn mortality. 

Sign Your Name to Support MDGs

Hip-hop star Will.I.Am launched a new video campaign called "In My Name." He got celebs and participants to sign their name in support of acheiving the MDGs. Even better -- he's asking us to get involved. 

Sarah Brown on Maternal Mortality

"500,000 women a year die in childbirth... you can save them." -- Sarah Brown.

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