- Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health
- Family Planning
- Women, Girls, and HIV
- Rights-Based Maternal Health
- U.S. Foreign Policy & Funding
- Watch: Making U.S. Foreign Assistance Work for Women and Girls in Ethiopia
- Female Condoms and U.S. Foreign Policy
- Family Planning Policy Restrictions and HIV
- U.S. Global Health Initiative
- Global Gag Rule
- Helms Amendment
- Foreign Assistance Budget
- Foreign Assistance Reform
- Kemp-Kasten Amendment
- Abstinence & Fidelity
- Anti-Prostitution Pledge
- Advocacy and Foreign Assistance
- Why Women and Girls?
Rights-Based Maternal Health
Around the world, women and girls continue to have a high risk of illness, injury, and death during pregnancy or childbirth. Despite numerous commitments to address issues that fuel this risk, health systems often do not prioritize maternal health and violations of women’s rights are common.
Globally, 800 women die every day due to largely preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth – which amounted to an estimated 289,000 maternal deaths in 2010. Approximately 47,000 maternal deaths worldwide are due to unsafe abortion. Additionally, for every woman who dies in childbirth, about 20 more suffer injury, infection, or disease – about 10 million women each year. Almost all (99 percent) of the world’s maternal deaths and injuries occur in developing countries.
Women and girls must have access to comprehensive maternal health care that includes: family planning; essential medicines; skilled, rights-based, and respectful maternity care; HIV prevention and treatment; and, safe voluntary abortion services.
Young women and girls are at heightened risk of complications and death during pregnancy and childbirth. These complications are the leading cause of death among girls 15-19 in low- and middle-income countries. Child marriage and taboos on adolescent sexuality contribute to teen pregnancies by denying girls the power, information, and tools to postpone childbearing.
On April 11, advocates issued a global call to action to establish an International Day for Maternal Health and Rights (#IntlMHDay) and gain worldwide support for respectful maternity care! Read a recap of the conversation.Take Action
Calling on governments, international institutions, and the global community of civil society organizations to celebrate and recognize April 11 as the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights.Take Action
Source800 - Every year 800 women die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Source16 million - Each year, about 16 million girls ages 15-19 give birth. Pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death among this age group.
Source24% - In sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 24% of deaths in pregnant or postpartum women are attributable to HIV.
Source222 million - Globally, 222 million women who wish to delay or avoid pregnancy have an unmet need for contraception.
Source99% - 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
Source90% - 90% of the complications that lead to maternal death can be avoided when women have access to quality prevention, diagnostic, and treatment services.
H.e. Dr. Nkosazana C. Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission addresses attendees at the International Conference On Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Johannesburg, South Africa.
South Africa is an upper middle-income country that is achieving low-income country success when it comes to maternal health. With the UN's release of the 2013 Millennium Development Goals Annual Report, greater attention is being drawn to countries in which progress has fallen far short of expectations.
In Malawi, the lifetime risk of a woman dying in pregnancy or childbirth is one in 36, compared to one in 4,600 in the United Kingdom, according to the Malawi Safe Motherhood Programme, an initiative to reduce maternal mortality in this southern African nation.
It is close to midday and a group of patients wait outside the Mirwais regional hospital in southern Afghanistan’s Kandahar city. “There are no health clinics in our district so I have to come this long way for treatment. I have not met the doctor yet and have been waiting to see him for a long time,” one man, who had been waiting since sunrise and had driven four hours from neighbouring Helmand Province, told IRIN.
President of Malawi Dr Joyce Banda has announced that infrastructure investment in the health sector will be vital to reduce the country's maternal mortality rate.
Space-age technology, neoprene (the same material used for wet suits) and Velcro have gone into an experimental garment health experts hope can treat postpartum haemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide.
Countries in which girls are commonly married before the age of 18 have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, report researchers in the current online issue of the journal Violence Against Women.
Philippines President Benigno Aquino has signed into law a bill providing for free access to contraception and family planning.
Rights-Based, Integrated Maternal Health
Integration of maternal health care with family planning and HIV services helps ensure the highest attainable standard of sexual and reproductive health for women and girls. Women and girls should have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services that includes family planning, essential medicines, skilled and respectful maternity care, and HIV prevention and treatment.Download this PDF
File Under: Fact Sheets
Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Ethiopia
On July 5-9, 2010, three U.S. state legislators traveled to Ethiopia to better understand the role of U.S. foreign assistance aimed at improving the quality of reproductive health care. This report documents that trip and makes recommendations for improving effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in Ethiopia.Download this PDF
File Under: Research Documents
Fact Sheet: U.S. Global HEALTH Act of 2010
The U.S. Global HEALTH Act of 2010 (H.R. 4933) establishes a strategy to coordinate health-related U.S. foreign assistance and to assist developing countries in strengthening their indigenous health workforces and improving delivery of health services.Download this PDF
File Under: Fact Sheets
The Case for Comprehensive: Dominican Republic
Rising HIV prevalence for young women and high rates of teen pregnancy are strong indicators of the gaps in the Dominican Republic’s sexual and reproductive health care. Moreover, despite the fact that almost all births are attended by skilled providers, maternal mortality is alarmingly high.Download this PDF
File Under: Country Profiles
The Case for Comprehensive: Botswana
Botswana appears to be a series of contradictions. Although economically better off than its neighbors, with relatively good roads, solid communications network, and 24-hour hospitals fairly well distributed throughout the country, Botswana nevertheless has serious barriers to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.Download this PDF
File Under: Country Profiles
Rights-Based Maternal Health Topics
Linking maternal health care with family planning and HIV services helps to ensure that women, girls, and their families receive the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health.
Woman-centered maternity care must prioritize women and girls’ basic human rights.