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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid