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Panel Discussion on Safe Motherhood and Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health

What: A panel of experts will analyze the advances made to universal access to reproductive health, lessons learned, and best practices with the ministers of health of the Americas during the 51st Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).

When: Tuesday, September 27, 2011, at 2:30 pm. 

Where: PAHO/WHO HQs, 525 23rd Street, NW, Washington, DC, Room A

Who: Mirta Roses, Director of PAHO/WHO, will present the Safe Motherhood Initiative and its allies, and the importance of universal access to sexual and reproductive health in order to achieve Millennium Development Goal 5.

HRH the Infanta Doña Cristina of Spain, Director of the International Area of “la Caixa” Foundation and President of the Global Health Institute of Barcelona (ISGlobal), will discuss the necessity of being able to count on the private sector, civil society organizations and citizens in order to improve the health of women and children in the Americas and globally.

Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UNWomen, will analyze universal access to sexual and reproductive health from a human rights and empowerment perspective, and the role of the ministers on this topic.

Laura Laski,, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health at UNFPA, will tackle the issue of universal access to family planning and the challenges to the region’s health sector in the upcoming decade.

Aníbal Faúndes, Coordinator of the Working Group for Prevention of Unsafe Abortions and their Consequences, Latin American Federation of Obstetric and Gynecologist Societies (FLASOG), will speak about unsafe abortion in the region, analyzing its consequences and how to prevent it in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Margaret Chan, General of the World Health Organization (WHO), will close the panel, commenting on the integrated efforts with Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, and the report on the Commission on Information and Accountability.

Note: The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation of Canada will address the audience before the Panel begins.

Why: According to data from PAHO’s basic health indicators, supplied by the ministers of health, maternal mortality has decreased around 30% in the Americas, but numbers are still high in some countries and access to reproductive health is still limited. Approximately 9,200 women die during pregnancy and birth, 3,240,000 pregnant women do not have access to modern contraception and 748,000 do not receive prenatal medical care in a health institution.

PAHO, with support from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), along with the Regional Working Group for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality (GTR), the “la Caixa” Foundation and other organizations issued a call to the countries of the region within the Safe Motherhood Initiative framework to redouble their efforts to reach targets A and B of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5: a) reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio, and b) achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.

Together, the different institutions are supporting the countries to: guarantee and increase social protection, especially for girls, adolescents and marginalized women; ensure access to free reproductive services; improve the quality of prenatal, labor and post-deliver care; reduce unsafe abortions; and prevent and offer care for gender-based violence.

Note: In the PAHO/WHO building, the “Safe Motherhood in Latin America and the Caribbean” photo exhibition will also be open. The exhibit displays the winning photos from national contests in the Safe Motherhood Initiative framework that sought to show the importance of protecting the health of women, mothers and newborns. The initiative and photo exhibition are supported by AECID.




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