Monday, March 26, 2012

Vaccinations, antibiotics and…birth control

From Turtle Bay and Beyond:

Vaccinations, antibiotics and…birth control

by Lisa Correnti
A recent UN announcement heralded the launch of a high-level commission on life-saving commodities for women and children. Vaccinations, antibiotics, anti-maleria drugs you ask, possibly, but don’t forget the birth control.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon celebrated the new joint initiative by UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) saying, “The Commission will tackle an overlooked but vital aspect of health systems, and ensure that women and children are protected from preventable causes of death and disease.”
The co-founder of this new initiative, Prime Minister Stoltenberg of Norway focused his remarks on reproductive health saying, “The day of birth is the most dangerous day in the life of a woman and her child.”  President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria will also serve as co-chair for the Commission on Life-saving Commodities for Women and Children.
The press release states the usual talking points to advocate for reproductive health/family planning:
Availability, accessibility and affordability of contraceptives for family planning and other life-saving health supplies is also an essential part of well-functioning health systems that are able to serve people in an equitable manner. Some 215 million women currently have an unmet need for family planning in developing countries. Meeting this unmet need would result in 53 million less unintended pregnancies and approximately 100,000 less maternal deaths every year. The Commission will focus on high-impact health supplies that can reduce the main causes of child and maternal deaths, as well as innovations that can be scaled up, including mechanisms for price reduction and supplies stability.
A consistent misguided approach to combat maternal mortality continues with the promotion of contraception to reduce pregnancies. Reproductive rights continues to permeate every aspect of health care for women and children throughout the UN.

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