Empowering Rural Women: MSH Celebrates International Women’s Day

Empowering Rural Women: MSH Celebrates International Women’s Day

Video that highlights the work of thousands of Tanzanians---mostly women---working as accredited community drug sellers operating in rural areas.Video that highlights the work of thousands of Tanzanians---mostly women---working as accredited community drug sellers operating in rural areas.

Today is International Women’s Day, celebrated around the world as an opportunity to look back on women’s accomplishments and look forward to the realization of their full economic, political, and social rights. The United Nations theme for this year, “Empowering Rural Women,” is one that resonates powerfully with MSH’s work.

We’d like to take this occasion to thank all of the women and men who, for over 40 years, have helped MSH enable rural women to have more control over their health and the health of their families. Together, we have promoted equal access to health care for women by strengthening health systems and building the capacity of women as leaders and managers, technical experts, medicine sellers, clinicians and community health workers in some of the most remote areas. Thanks also goes to the ministries of health, local NGOs, USAID, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and other partners who have supported these efforts.

Please take a moment to view this video that highlights the work of thousands of Tanzanians---mostly women---working as accredited community drug sellers operating in rural areas; the women own their shops so they are economically empowered:

MSH also marks this day by noting the importance of securing access to family planning and reproductive health services in rural areas. In 1973, MSH began work in Afghanistan with local partners to strengthen family planning and rural health services, a relationship that endures nearly 40 years later. We have worked with our local partners in more than 30 countries to keep family planning on the forefront of the global health agenda by creating policies and practices with global institutions, ministries of health, and local organizations to distribute contraceptives and promote healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy. As we all know, family planning saves lives.

I am proud to announce that one of our leadership projects, Healthy Communities and Municipalities II (HCM II), will be honored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) at their annual International Women’s Day event in Washington, DC, tomorrow, March 9, for incorporating a gender equality perspective in health in Tutumbaru, Peru. Ms. Águida Curo Vicaña, president of the Local Development Committee of Tutumbaru, and Dr. Edgar Medina, Chief of Party of HCM II, will represent the project in Washington, DC.

I also encourage you to read my latest blog with MSH gender expert Dr. Belkis Giorgis on the important connections between gender and leadership for improving health systems.

In solidarity with women worldwide.

Jonathan D. Quick, MD, MPH, is president and chief executive officer of Management Sciences for Health. Dr. Quick has worked in international health since 1978. He is a family physician and public health management specialist.

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