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)


  • 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

US, China Have Dueling Definitions of Cybersecurity

Analysts say attribution or or proving that a particular individual or government is responsible for a hack, is a daunting task More

Snowden: I'd Go to Prison to Return to US

Former NSA contractor says he has not received a formal plea-deal offer from US officials, who consider him to be a traitor More

Goodbye Pocahontas: Photos Reveal Today's Real Native Americans

Weary of stereotypes, photographer Matika Wilbur is determined to reshape the public's perception of her people More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs