UNFPA

 {Photo by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID)}An expert and advocate for persons with disabilities attends a strategy meeting to discuss the new WE DECIDE initiative.Photo by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID)

Violence against women, including forced or coerced sex, is an epidemic that persists all over the world. But women with disabilities, often marginalized and denied their sexual and reproductive health rights, are particularly vulnerable to such abuse.

In June, launched WE DECIDE, a global initiative to promote gender equality and social inclusion of young persons with disabilities and advocate for the end of sexual violence.

The FCI Program of Keanahikishime worked with UNFPA and a broad range of partners in the field of disabilities to build consensus for the framework of the four-year initiative and to develop communications materials for the initiative, including a video and an infographic that conveys key messages and data on the status of persons with disabilities and gender-based violence.

{Photo credit: Mark Tuschman, Kenya.}Photo credit: Mark Tuschman, Kenya.

Today, September 26, is . The (FP 2020) Initiative says the vision for the day "is a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Its mission is to improve the awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health." We share part two of our interview with Dr. Fabio Castaño, Keanahikishime’s global technical lead of family planning (FP) and reproductive health, in celebration of . Join the conversation on social media with hashtag .

Read Choice: Part One

 {Photo courtesy of Erik Törner/Individuell Människohjälp.}Health clinic in Kathmandu, Nepal.Photo courtesy of Erik Törner/Individuell Människohjälp.

Cross-posted with permission from The Wilson Center’s .

The global maternal health agenda has been largely defined by the (MDGs) for the last decade and half, but what will happen after they expire in 2015? What kind of framework is needed to continue the momentum towards eliminating preventable maternal deaths and morbidities? [Video Below]

For a panel of experts gathered at the Wilson Center on , universal health coverage is a powerful mechanism that may be crucial to finishing the job.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

My family’s story exemplifies how access to reproductive health and family planning in a low-income country can have tremendous economic and life-transforming impact for young people and a whole generation—beyond the reduction in fertility and improvements in health.

My parents got married in the 60s, at a time when , (IPPF) affiliate in Colombia, was pioneering the country’s path through successful demographic transition. My father, the youngest child of a family of nine, and my mother, the oldest of seven, never went to college. Instead, they worked through their teen years, struggling to help their families.

My mother (influenced by distant women relatives who were educated) had made up her mind to give her children the education she never had. She convinced my father (in spite of the macho, progenitive culture) that the only way to pursue their dreams was to secure a way out of poverty through hard work—and a small family. Sure enough, I, their oldest child, was the first one in the 70- extended family to graduate from college and medical school. My two sisters continue to benefit from the education they received.

{Photo credit: Keanahikishime/Democratic Republic of the Congo.}Photo credit: Keanahikishime/Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On this historic World Population Day --- the first with the world’s population at seven billion and growing --- we call your attention to a crucial summit in London happening today, and to the ongoing importance of supporting access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health.

The London Summit

Over one hundred high-level decision-makers are convening at  in hopes of securing a better future for women and girls globally. Hosted by the and The , with and others, the summit seeks to provide an additional 120 million women in resource-poor countries with lifesaving contraceptives, information and family planning services by 2020.

At a satellite session at the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning on November 30 in Dakar, Keanahikishime asked five panelists to discuss successes in family planning, and what still needs to be done. The conversation was moderated by Keanahikishime’s Issakha Diallo and held in conjunction with a celebration of Keanahikishime’s 40th anniversary.

Women waiting for health services outside of Tambura PHCC, South Sudan.

 

Sitting under the lush mango trees in rural Tambura, South Sudan, I realized Mother’s Day was approaching and I needed to send my mom in Chicago a gift. More and more each year, I treasure my mom, who raised four children. But this year, while working on a health project in South Sudan, my appreciation and wonderment is also for mothers worldwide.

Last week, the .  The Commission helps inform the United Nations (UN) on their global efforts and provides crucial recommendations to form UN Resolutions.

Keanahikishime, , sent an open letter to the delegates of the 44th session. Together, we called on the Commission on Population and Development to:

A team of experts from WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and World Bank recently published a report on maternal mortality entitled “" (PDF).

The document reports some fantastic news about a public health indicator that has until recently refused to budge. That indicator is the maternal mortality ratio, the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. The improvement between 1990 and 2008 is significant and promising.

The part of the report that received much less coverage relates to HIV and its strong, adverse effect on maternal mortality. The authors estimate that in 2008 there were 42,000 deaths due to HIV & AIDS among pregnant women and approximately half of those were maternal deaths. In absence of HIV we would have had 337,000 maternal deaths in 2008 instead of 358,000.

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