News / Africa

Women Deliver Conference Opens

3rd Women Deliver global conference focuses on health, reproductive rights. (Credit: Women Deliver)
3rd Women Deliver global conference focuses on health, reproductive rights. (Credit: Women Deliver)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on Women Deliver conference

Joe DeCapua
The Women Deliver conference opens Tuesday (5/280) in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Organizers call it the largest global meeting of the decade on the health and well-being of women and girls.


About 7,000 people have gathered for Women Deliver, including government and business leaders, policymakers and NGO representatives.

Felecia Wong is senior advisor for Asia and Eastern Europe for the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. She says sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls must be a priority.

“If a young women or a young girl cannot access information about family planning, it’s often also most likely that they won’t be able to access information about HIV, which puts them at higher risk for unintended pregnancy, as well as getting HIV because they’re both sexually transmitted,” she said.

Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equality, agreed.

“We still have unacceptably high rates of maternal mortality – over 300,000 a year. And we have an unmet need for contraception. Over 200 million women are without contraception, who need it and who want it,” she said.

Sippel said that a lack of access has wide-ranging consequences.

“Not having access to family planning – not having access to really basic health care, in general, for women – means that you’re not able to space your children, which would mean that you’re at high risk for a difficult pregnancy and possible death through child birth. And also the children, you need to space children so that they grow up and can be healthy,” she said.

Felicia Wong said that more than 30 years into the HIV/AIDS epidemic the disease still hits women hard.

“For women of reproductive age, HIV is still the leading cause of death, and HIV-related mortality accounts for one-fifth of all maternal deaths. And globally, young women between the ages of 15 and 24 have higher infection rates, which are as much as twice as high as young men their same age group.”

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance and other groups are launching the Link Up program.

Wong said, “Link Up is an ambitious five country program with activities in Burundi, Ethiopia, Uganda, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The aim of that project is to improve the sexual and reproductive health of young people between the ages of 10 and 24 -- and to address in addition to their health needs their rights to access.”

Serra Sippel of the Center for Health and Gender Equality said the conference host country has made gains.

“I think it’s significant that the Women Deliver conference taking place in Malaysia is an example of where we can look at progress, in terms of a country where the maternal mortality rates have gone down – that women do have access to contraception – and the country is thriving economically, that families are thriving,” she said.

However, both Sippel and Wong said the United Nations Millennium Development Goals on health have not been fully met. The MDGs come due in 2015.  They said that plans should be made now to ensure women’s health and reproductive rights after that date.

The Women Deliver conference runs until May 30th.

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid