Advocating for the Health and Well-Being of Girls and Women

Publication date: 2016

PATH/Evelyn Hockstein Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA “Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health,” 2014. The power of girl and women advocates Girls and women are agents of change in families, communities, and countries. To harness this potential, PATH—through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Advocacy for Better Health (ABH) project—works to strengthen the capacity of citizens and women- and youth-led organizations to demand and hold their leaders accountable for quality-assured, affordable, and accessible health and social services in 35 districts in Uganda. Through ABH efforts, women and girls have developed advocacy agendas that reflect their realities and hopes, and make a positive difference in their lives and communities. Their activities have led to reduced stockouts of lifesaving medicines, reopened surgery centers, and more trained health providers at facilities where they seek care. PATH believes that strong leadership by girls and women, from global to local levels, will generate more meaningful progress for all. Investments in the health and well-being of girls and women yield exponential gains, improving their lives as well as the productivity and prosperity of families, communities, and future generations. PATH works to place girls’ and women’s health and rights at the top of global and national development agendas—including how we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This elevation will unlock the potential of girls and women, so they have the power to protect their health and embrace opportunities to grow, thrive, and prosper throughout their lives. 225million women have an unmet need for family planning Almost 400,000 women will die each year from cervical cancer by 2030 ADVOCATING FOR THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF GIRLS AND WOMEN 8 in 10 women with a curable sexually transmitted infection do not receive medical care 1 in 10 school-age African girls do not attend school during menstruation 25% increase in a girl’s earning power for every year she goes to school BENEFITS OF IMPROVED SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PATH/Gabe Bienczycki For Societies Increase in growth of GDP and GDP per capita Increase in number of working-age adults relative to dependent children Decrease in demand for public expenditures in education, housing, water, and sanitation Decrease in strain on the environment For Families and Households Increase in savings and household assets Reduction in the number of children who become orphans Increase in children’s schooling Increase in resources for each child For Girls and Women Increase in ability to continue education Increase in productivity and earnings Increase in autonomy and self-esteem Increase in gender equity 1 An option for dual protection from unintended pregnancy and STIs. 2Marketed under the brand name Caya. April 2016 Achieving gender equity in health Gender inequities are major drivers of many global health challenges. PATH is articulating ways to integrate gender considerations into innovations, policies, and interventions that result in strong health outcomes for all: women and men, boys and girls. Promoting menstrual health In many countries, girls and women experience infection, stigma, and violence, and have their education and workplace participation held back because of menstruation. PATH calls on health, water and sanitation, education, and employment stakeholders across the public, private, civil society, and commercial sectors to work together to address menstrual health—through health and sexuality education, improved access to innovative supplies, and safe facilities at school and work for girls and women. Addressing sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS Millions of new sexually transmitted infections (STIs) occur each year. PATH is mobilizing national government stakeholders and health advocates to address data, policy, and funding gaps to better detect, prevent, and treat STIs. PATH is also calling on public and private partners to work with us to adapt and develop innovations that prevent HIV/AIDS infection and squarely meet the needs of girls and women. Expanding contraceptive options and access Access to contraception is vital to achieve global goals, and improve health, education, employment, and gender equity for girls and women. PATH is working with multisector partners to place the power of protection in the hands of adolescent girls and women through innovation. This includes the Woman’s Condom1 and SILCS,2 a one-size-fits-most diaphragm. PATH is also carrying out research on the all-in-one injectable contraceptive Sayana® Press: early results show women want to and can administer it themselves. PATH advocates to ensure these technologies are introduced and scaled through diverse sectors and delivery channels. Tackling non-communicable diseases Cervical cancer. Nine in ten deaths from cervical cancer occur among women in the world’s poorest countries. PATH, with the Cervical Cancer Action coalition, aims to increase collaboration and investment globally and within countries to ensure all girls are vaccinated against human papillomavirus to prevent cervical cancer, and all women are screened and treated for cervical precancer. Diabetes. Most women with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries. PATH and partners are engaging the international community in a call to action to address inadequate financing and weak supply chains that limit access to essential medicines and technologies for diagnosing, treating, and monitoring gestational diabetes and hypertension. Making markets and systems work for women and girls Even the most innovative health products—from contraceptives to diagnostics to lifesaving treatments—cannot improve or protect health if they do not reach those who want and need them. PATH advocates for policies that enable healthy markets and systems to ensure well-designed, quality-assured, and affordable sexual, reproductive, and maternal health supplies are consistently available. PATH/Evelyn Hockstein PATH/Mike Wang Access to family planning could save 114,000 women’s lives each year When 10% more girls go to school a country’s GDP increases by about 3%

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