Women Deliver: Looking Ahead- How we can deliver
The Women Deliver conference (www.womendeliver.org), is running June 7-9 2010 and the GAB team is present! It is a global meeting on maternal and reproductive health and the advancement of women and girls. Tune in today for live updates directly from the conference floor.
Speakers will discuss key issues and next steps in taking the movement forward. With the G8 and G20 Summits just weeks away, and with several other key global gatherings over the next months, how can political leaders, advocates, and donors alike truly deliver?
Moderator: Lindsay Crouse
Jill Sheffield, President and Founder, Women Deliver: Entirely too many girls and women die from preventable causes by and large and we have the tools now to stop. We have shared stories of what works, numeric evidence and qualitative evidence of what works and why. This conference is well placed in terms of timing. We have the G8 and G20 conference coming up in Canada. The prime minister is making this issue his signature issue. The next big event will be in Africa where the heads of state will be talking about this issue. It’s a terrific blueprint for how to meet the MDG 5. We came here looking to confirm that women are central to the lives of our communities and our national economies. Because of women’s death and the disability the world loses $15 billion in lost productivity. Women are an economic force—a force that we cannot lose at this rate. We came here because we have solutions—political, medical, community based solutions. The world must now deliver for women—this isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the economically smart thing to do.
Narges Nemat, Youth Advisor, Women’s Refugee Commission, Afghanistan: It is important to engage young people in all parts of development. Insecurity—girls in Afghanistan and in many parts of the world were born in. This is about not having the right to be educated and have a happy and healthy life. 1 woman dies in 29 minutes giving birth to a child in Afghanistan—the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world. Giving birth at a very young age is also one of the lead causes of maternal death. Young people play a very important role—if they are given access to education and health facilities, the future will look a lot different than it is now. Young people are like the roots of society—if the roots of a tree are strong, then it is fruitful and has a great future. Do not consider young people of the conflict zones as poor and helpless—they are strong agents for sustainable change, all they need is your support and investment for long term support.
Leymah Gbowee, Executive Director, Women in Peace and Security Network: Women have been delivering for their communities, however, we have constantly been pulled from the community level to look at issues impacting women’s lives—peace, security, health. How can we get to where we need to get to? You would think that we haven’t had big successes but women have been out there, doing what they can do to change some of the conditions within their communities.
I am sitting next to a mister from Canada and I know they do good work, but my question is, can we step it up a little?
Dr. Keith Martin, Member of Parliament, Canada: This conference is just the beginning of a process. If you were a 16 year old girl who was pregnant and your baby was stuck or you were bleeding, you would likely die in most countries in the world. This can be fixed for only a few dollars. Treating the pregnant woman is the most powerful impact you can have on the health of a population—if you can treat the pregnant woman you can treat all of the problems. When the mother dies, 50% of her children will also parish. Save the mother, save the child, save society, save the population. The G8/G20 conference is coming up, but this battle is only the beginning. MDG5 is the crux on which all other MDGs hang.
Tore Godal: Some issues we have made great progress, but other areas we have not made much progress in regards to women health. The saddest expression of the discrimination against women is that it is the victim that gets stigmatized. We have an opportunity this year to make 2010 as transformative as 1910 turned out to be. In order to have a transformative summit, we must keep the pressure on governments (Canada in particular). Keep criticizing, keep challenging us in order for us to do more. This conference will be a landmark thanks to you.
Question: What is different now then it was a couple days ago? Were you disappointed that Michelle Obama didn’t come considering we’re in Washington D.C.?
Jill Sheffield: You can feel the difference in the conference hall. The range of interest in this is absolutely dramatically different. We had 80 different parliamentarians, 50 ministers, first ladies, a big media group, a more engaged than ever corporate group. You help us reach the large audiences. We’re disappointed that Michelle Obama didn’t come because maternal death and disability is a problem in every country. We need all the political power that we can get. I’m also sorry that Prime Minister Harper and Mrs. Harper didn’t come but they’ll get their chance.
Question: How will Canada step up its game (how will its role as host of the G8/20 be fully utilized)?
Keith Martin: The Canadian government will react if the public demands. You are crucial in order to get the message out to the public so the public understands the problem and can push for the solution.
Question: Where I live, we don’t have doctors—how do we train doctors?
Keith Martin: We can make a global pact to stop poaching doctors and nurses. We all need to sign on to that. If a health care worker emigrates to our country, we should train two more health care professionals in the country of origin. If that is done, we can greatly increase the healthcare deficit in Africa.
Tore Godal: If you look at leadership of the countries making progress, they have had massive programs for training health workers at the lower level. If we see countries with good leadership, they have a massive effort to train health workers.