With the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) nearing expiration date and the new and improved Sustainable Development Agenda in place, we are facing a fresh start to address some of the most important global challenges in the next 15 years.
Next week global leaders, advocates and policy-makers are convening at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference in Mexico City. Although we have seen great progress in improving maternal health since the implementation of the MDGs, there is still more to be done.
Therefore, I would like to highlight several key points to ensure that we do not end up with unfinished business for mothers in 2030.
Don’t leave adolescent girls out of the equation
To combat maternal health challenges and mortality, adolescent girls need to be at the core of policies and programs. Their needs must be adressed and their voices heard. Addressing human rights abuses like child, early and forced marriage, as well as, female genital mutilation, are part of the same equation. Adolescent girls and young women need to have control over their own bodies and the power to choose their paths in life.
Click to see this great infographic by Women Deliver and Johnson & Johnson on the importance of investing in adolescents and young people.
Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) can no longer be neglected
Sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning needs to be addressed as a part of improving the health of future mothers and babies. Making sure that women and girls have access to the services and information to be able to make the choices they want.
225 million women in developing countries have an unmet need for family planning, resulting in unplanned and unwanted pregrancies, unsafe abortions with detrimental effects on women and babies.
Not only is access to SRH services imperative, sexual education for both girls and boys is essential to foster an environment where the health of mothers and newborns is taken seriously. When young people understand their bodies and their choices, they are empowered to take charge of their health outcomes.
Click to see this great infographic by Women Deliver on the importance of investing in family planning and reproductive health.
It is my hope that as experts gather in Mexico City and at other upcoming conferences and events, that the voices of young people, and adolescent girls in particular are listened to.
Girls’ Globe will be attending the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference and provide live coverage through blog posts, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and more. Follow along using #GlobalMNH and #GlobalGoalsLive.
Cover Photo Credit: UNICEF Ethiopia/2013/Ose