With only four years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), it will be critical to ensure political and financial commitments are in place to strengthen healthcare systems so they can support a continuum of care and support for women and children. Every year around eight million children die of preventable causes and more than 350,000 women die from preventable complications in pregnancy and childbirth.
Divya Bajpai, the Alliance’s senior advisor on sexual and reproductive health and rights, explains why this is an important issue.
“HIV and complications related to pregnancy and childbearing are the two most important causes of death in women of reproductive age. HIV alone accounts for more than 61,000 maternal deaths annually.
“HIV directly increases the risk of complications in pregnancy, delivery and induced abortion such as anaemia, haemorrhage and sepsis, thereby causing a high number of maternal deaths and complications.”
In order to respond, women and children must have access to a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health information and services such as family planning and maternal, newborn and child health and prevention and treatment of HIV and other STIs.
That’s why the Alliance is leading community action on HIV work which has greater integration and linkages of programmes to support a continuum of care and support for women and children.
“The level of unmet sexual and reproductive health needs, especially among young women, a population highly affected by HIV and violence and who are also more likely, in Sub-Saharan Africa, to have older male sexual partners, underlines the urgency to address all three health Millenium Development Goals simultaneously”, says Bajpai.
Good Practice Guide
In our latest Good Practice Guide on the integration of HIV and sexual and reproduction health and rights which was launched last month, we:
- provide a ‘road map’ for good practice in integrating SRH, rights and HIV at different levels
- show how civil society programmes can increase the capacity of communities, government health systems and other partners to bring about change
- share examples and lessons learned of how civil society organisations and community-based programmes from around the world have integrated components of SRH into their programmes.
You can read more about the Alliance’s work to reduce HIV-related maternal mortality in Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda and Zambia and about a project in the Philippines which aims to reduce maternal mortality and prevent HIV by working with cooperative networks.
Acknowledging the urgency to address gender in all health and development programmes in order to achieve the MDGs, the Alliance recently published a report which summarises the challenges around gender and sexuality programming faced by Alliance linking organisations and their partners.
Read more about HIV and sexual and reproduction health services.