Family planning is a fundamental right. More surprisingly perhaps, it’s also vital to improving children’s chances of survival. Ensuring women are able to plan whether or when to have children means babies and young children are more likely to survive, and it saves the lives of adolescent girls and women who are pregnant. And it helps countries to achieve their goals on development, and improve the lives of many millions of people.
Countdown launched its 2012 Report on June 14, 2012, at the Child Survival Call to Action, a two-day high-level meeting in Washington, D.C. This conference, convened by the governments of the U.S., Ethiopia, and India in collaboration with UNICEF, charted a course toward the end of preventable child deaths around the world.
World Health Statistics 2012 contains WHO’s annual compilation of health-related data for its 194 Member States, and includes a summary of the progress made towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and associated targets.
This year, it also includes highlight summaries on the topics of noncommunicable diseases, universal health coverage and civil registration coverage.
The field of global health is witnessing a shift in focus from disease-driven initiatives to projects aimed at increasing the sustainability and strengthening of health systems. A crucial component to this is universal health coverage (UHC), which seeks to address financing schemes for health, separate from efforts to provide both adequate numbers of health workers and structures for health-care delivery. UHC may be provided by government or through a combination of private insurance schemes, public-sector planning, and employer-based programs. Countries across the world, from China and India to Rwanda and Mexico, are beginning to implement different universal health coverage schemes, marking a rise in interest and political will for universal health coverage.
Every day, approximately 1000 women die in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related complication.1 Maternal death can occur at any time in pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most dangerous time for both the mother and the baby. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented if access to emergency obstetric care is ensured.
Experience shows us that at least 15 percent of all pregnant women worldwide encounter a life-threatening complication. In a conflict or a crisis, pregnant women are even more vulnerable because health services have collapsed, are inadequate or non-existent. But these women need access to quality emergency obstetric care whether they live in a conflict zone, in a refugee camp or under plastic sheeting after a devastating earthquake.
The SAHR 2011 provides valuable policy and empirical information on a range of issues that are related to and impact on the Negotiated Service Delivery Agreement and primary health care re-engineering as envisaged by the National Department of Health (NDoH). A range of experts provide commentary on topics ranging from rural health, health technology to human resources. SAHR 2011 also contains a section on core health issues, where developments in health information systems, financing health care, and health legislation and policy are discussed. The Review concludes with the Indicators chapter which presents a selection of the best available data on the functioning and performance of the health system.
Progress in health and development in the poorest countries is in serious danger if the world does not make a concerted effort to reduce inequities, protect the environment and promote sustainability. This is the stark warning highlighted in the 2011 Human Development Report, launched on Wednesday by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
A period of major change is unfolding in health and HIV services in South Africa, carrying opportunities and risks for delivering effective, integrated health services that improve health outcomes and save lives. South Africa is decentralizing HIV services to the primary health care level, paving the way for greater integration to address women’s health and to reduce maternal mortality. The United States can find feasible, flexible ways to support this process, even though its health program through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is scaling down.
This report is based on research conducted between August 2010 and April 2011. During this period, Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 157 women who received maternal health services, or accompanied other women seeking such services, in Eastern Cape public health facilities over the past five years, and observed health facilities in Eastern Cape Province. In addition to interviewing other experts, Human Rights Watch also reviewed laws, policies, official health strategies, and reports by academics, national and international organizations, and United Nations agencies.
The case studies that follow, from across sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central
Asia, Latin America and North America, highlight the rich diversity of community initiatives that
bridge sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV. The report has a strategic emphasis
on the innovation that is being led by women living with HIV and features pioneering endeavours
that reflect community and key stakeholder interpretation and understanding of how this
intersection is defined. It profiles initiatives that have emerged from within the HIV sector as it
broadens out to encompass a sexual and reproductive health and rights approach, as well as