PSI Stands with UNFPA

PSI stands with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as a vital organization. Here, find the UN Foundation’s statement on cutting vital US support for UNFPA, a major step back for girls and women. Statement from UN Foundation President & CEO Kathy Calvin on Elimination of U.S. Funds for UNFPA Defunding UNFPA puts millions of

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Ashley Judd on Feminism, Activism, and Being an Advocate for Girls’ Health

By Noha Zeitoun, Content Intern, PSI Imagine 70 million girls around the world staying in school longer and having the choice about when or how to get pregnant. We’re one step closer to that now as PSI Global Ambassador Ashley Judd is named the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on Child Marriage. Often arranged by families,

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It Takes a Market to get Men to Use Condoms in Africa. Here's How.

What can be done to increase the use of condoms by men in African countries? PSI and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) teamed up over the past year to study and report on the state of play in six African countries. The results are out in six new case studies that will be presented during a  consultative meeting on the Total Market Approach that PSI and UNFPA are hosting, today and tomorrow.

During the meeting, participants will discuss the findings from the six case studies conducted in African countries. Then, representatives from ten organizations will discuss how they can work together to support the development and implementation of the Total Market Approach in national markets for male condoms and other family planning supplies.

The UNFPA sponsored case studies were carried out in the past 12 months with support from two independent researchers in Botswana, Lesotho, Mali, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda. All of the countries have large condom social marketing programs, are affected by HIV, and have high maternal morbidity and mortality relative to their economic development.

Content for the case studies was based on a review of the literature, seven key TMA metrics calculated from national-level data, and interviews with stakeholders. All case studies were subject to review by stakeholders, including Ministries of Health and non-governmental organizations in all six countries, UNFPA’s local and regional offices, UNFPA headquarters in New York City, PSI country and regional offices, and PSI’s headquarters in Washington DC.

Each case study describe the market for male condoms in each of the countries, and the roles of the public, social marketing, and commercial sectors in those markets.

The cases illustrate the universe of need for condoms, levels of use, socioeconomic equity among users, and the market presence of condoms for reproductive health and HIV prevention (dual protection).

They also propose a set of recommendations for improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability of condom markets.

The studies aim to inform the development of appropriate, evidence-based decisions to increase condom use equitably and sustainably through actions undertaken in the public, socially marketed, and commercial sectors.

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Sec State Kerry Welcomes International Family Planning Conference Attendees

US Secretary of State couldn’t make it to Addis Ababa for the International Family Planning Conference, but he did send along this recorded message. Watch him here and read what he said below:

Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome the thousands of you from governments around the world, NGOs, public and private organizations, and elsewhere, who are taking part in the third biennial International Family Planning Conference. I’m really sorry that I couldn’t be with you in person in Addis Ababa, but I want to tell you that, as both the U.S. Secretary of State and the father of two extraordinary young women, I am exceedingly grateful for your hard work and dedication to this cause. Millions of women, men, and children have better lives today thanks to the work that many of you have done for decades.

In 1994, when I was a U.S. Senator, I attended the historic International Conference on Population and Development. What was clear back then is still clear today: that challenges like reproductive health care and family planning are bigger than the political boxes that some try to force them into. These are basic human necessities that hundreds of millions of women are forced to go without. For some, it’s because they can’t afford or don’t have access to these services. For others, it’s because their husbands or their communities simply don’t support their use.

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Senator Frank Lautenberg, Global Health Champion

By Elizabeth Petoskey, Advocacy & Policy Consultant, PSIMy Approved Portraits

The global health community lost a champion today.  We are saddened by the passing of New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who was one of America’s greatest advocates for women’s health and reproductive rights around the world.

In his powerful role on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Lautenberg fought to protect access to family planning services for women internationally. He worked hard to, despite never succeeding, permanently repeal the Mexico City Policy, a policy better know as the “Global Gag Rule” which prevents foreign NGOs from receiving federal funding if they provide abortion services with private funds.

Senator Lautenberg tirelessly advocated to protect and expand the U.S. contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and to integrate family planning services in other global health and development programs.

In times of proposed severe cuts to malaria, the Global Fund and bilateral HIV/AIDS funding, Senator Lautenberg called on U.S. leadership to step up and protect these vital, life-saving programs.

One of the final bills Senator Lautenberg introduced on the floor of the Senate in April demonstrated his lasting commitment to reproductive rights and strong global health legacy that he leaves behind.  The “Peace Corps Equity Act of 2013” would provide Peace Corps Volunteers with access to the same standard of health care that most women with federal health care coverage already receive, including coverage of abortions in instances of rape, incest or when the life of the woman is endangered.

Senator Lautenberg faithfully served the people of New Jersey and fought for the voiceless globally for almost 30 years. PSI extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Senator Lautenberg.

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Empowering and Supporting Women Through mHealth

By Deputy Editor Tom Murphy
Washington DC – A marginal part of the recent mHealth Summit, global health took center stage on the final day with keynote addresses and discussions from global health leaders. Dr Nafis Sadik, UN Foundation Board Member and former head of United Nation’s Population Fund used her time in the spotlight to issue a challenge for embedding women and girls into mHealth.
Dr Sadik spoke directly to the mHealth Alliance, a convening group for coordinating mHealth that involves multiple stakeholders from the public, private and NGO sectors. She commended the work done by the Alliance to bring people to the table in order to improve health outcomes through mobile technologies.
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London Summit on Family Planning Ignites $2.6 Billion in Commitments

– U.K. Department for International Development (UKAID) The London Summit on Family Planning was a momentous day that surpassed expectations, with global leaders coming together to make commitments that will provide 120 million more girls and women in the poorest countries who want to be able to decide whether and when to have a child

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UNFPA’s Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin is Optimistic About Global Maternal Mortality Declines

Rahim Kanani sat down with Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund, to discuss the exciting data showing the decline of maternal mortality around the world. The May study, we featured herelast month, determined that the number of women who die in pregnancy/childbirth each year fell by 47% between 1990 to 2010. That is a reduction from 543,000 deaths per year to 287,000.

Overall, it is good news, but the report also indicated that Sub-Saharan Africa will miss the target of maternal mortality falling by 75% from 1990 to 2015. In the interview, Dr Osotimehin discusses some of the challenges to reducing maternal mortality, but is ultimately optimistic saying, “We could rid the world of the great majority of maternal deaths with appropriate and timely medical care and solutions we already know. It is within our reach to make dying in childbirth if not a thing of the past, then at least as rare an occasion in developing countries as it is in the richer parts of the world. No woman should die giving life.”

Here are some selected questions and answers from the Forbes piece:

Rahim KananiIn your newest report on maternal mortality worldwide, what were some of the key findings, and did those findings surprise you?

Babatunde OsotimehinWell, first and foremost, we are very pleased to see that the number of women dying in pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990. The UN, including UNFPA and partners, has for decades been working with governments around the world to improve access to reproductive health, including voluntary family planning and maternal health. The new estimates for maternal deaths show that this effort is paying off.

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UNFPA: Global Maternal Mortality Cut in Half, Sub-Saharan Africa Lags Behind MDGs

Global maternal mortality has been halved over the past two decades says a new UNFPA report, “Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2010.” That is the good news. The bad news is that many countries in sub-Saharan Africa will miss the target of reducing maternal mortality by 75% from 1990 to 2015.

“We know exactly what to do to prevent maternal deaths: improve access to voluntary family planning, invest in health workers with midwifery skills, and ensure access to emergency obstetric care when complications arise. These interventions have proven to save lives and accelerate progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goal 5,” said Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA.

To further add to the challenge, collected data is still farm from perfect. Some countries cannot account for all maternal deaths and hospitals may mis-categorize a mother’s deaths. “These new estimates demonstrate how maternal health is progressing globally and how the quality of data is improving. This also shows how the UN works together to improve the situation for women and girls around the world,” said Dr. Osotimehin.

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UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children Launched Today

Today, UNICEF and UNFPA announced the launch of the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children. Led by Co-Chairs President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway, the commission will seek to partner with the public, private and civil society sectors to ensure the delivery of essential health supplies that can reduce maternal and child mortality.

According to the UN, the family planning needs of an estimated 215 million women in developing countries are unmet. If this unmet need is fulfilled, the UN says could be as many as 53 million less unintended pregnancies and approximately 100,000 less maternal deaths every year.

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Why UNFPA Wants to Reach Young People

DFID kicked off a new global development podcast series this past October. Their first podcast coincided with the celebration of 7 billion people on earth and featured an interview with Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.

In the short interview, Dr Osotimenhin discusses how family planning is one of the most important issues to address when trying to achieve stable population growth. “My major issue, as the director of the UNFPA, is to address the issue of young people.” Of the 7 billion people alive right now, 1.8 billion are children and 90% of that number live in ‘developing’ countries.

Listen to Dr Osotimenhin explain how and why he wants to reach young people. Incidentally, youth issues are the topic of the forthcoming issue of IMPACT magazine, so stay tuned for more on this topic.

Listen to DFID’s podcasts here.

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