Women

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH}Participants and model wheelchair users on the last day of the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package-Basic Level delivery in Manila, Philippines.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH

A version of this post originally appeared on the Leadership, Management & Governance Project Blog

Since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has observed the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. The annual observance aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. 

This year, the theme of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is "Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology".

 {Photo credit: Nicole Quinlan/MSH.}Dr. Jonathan Quick pitching for partnerships to reach more people with quality healthcare and medicines through the Accredited Drug Shops at the Clinton Global Initiative.Photo credit: Nicole Quinlan/MSH.

MSH President & CEO Dr. Jonathan D. Quick shared MSH's vision to bring quality healthcare and medicines closer to home through our proven Accredited Drug Shops program at the Clinton Global Initiative () "Scalable Ideas: Pitching for Partnerships" session September 24, 2014. Watch a video of Dr. Quick's pitch and learn more about how you can partner with us.

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

For the mother who walks miles for health,

Carrying a near-lifeless child on her back,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother, living with HIV, who mentors others,

Helping to prevent transmission of the disease,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother who must choose

Improving the health of a parent or educating a child,

We envision a world…

 

For the mother who births, the mother who feeds,

And the mother who cares for a child,

We envision a world...

 

Where -- all mothers, all children -- everyone

Has the opportunity for a healthy life.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!

 

 {Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH.}Dr. Barakzai and colleague share a laugh.Photo credit: Sylvia Vriesendorp/MSH.

This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth.org blog.

She asked me, "How do you get confidence? I had it and then lost it. I want it back!"

For more than a decade I have been in close contact with Afghan women who, if they were put together to form a government, would change the course of history in their country. Some are older and have proven to be extraordinary leaders—the kind of people who are needed to create the conditions for peace. Others are young and full of energy to turn things around as they watch the international and local debates about Afghanistan's future. And some are in the middle; they are developing their leadership skills in their immediate surroundings, practicing, falling down, brushing themselves off, and trying again.

The question from my young colleague resonated with me because the issue of confidence had come up several times during my recent stay in Kabul—how easy it is to get it and how easily it is lost.

 {Photo credit: Jennifer Acio/MSH.}Last year, a group of community members queued up to register for different services at Budaka Health Center IV on International Women's Day 2013.Photo credit: Jennifer Acio/MSH.

MSH staff and projects participated in International Women's Day celebrations in dozens of countries around the world. We share some of our stories with photos and excerpts from South Africa, Uganda, and Afghanistan.

Uganda Celebrates

STRIDES for Family Health joined the Ugandan government to commemorate International Women's Day in Kumi district. This year’s theme was “In partnership with men and boys for empowerment of women and girls in Uganda.” STRIDES supported village health teams’ participation in the celebration and distributed TOMS shoes before the event to motivate mothers to access services at health facilities.

[Women leaders access health information provided by STRIDES during the International Women's Day event in Kayunga district.] {Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH}Women leaders access health information provided by STRIDES during the International Women's Day event in Kayunga district.Photo credit: Tadeo Atuhura/MSH

 

 {Photo credit: Warren Zelman.}Health worker in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Photo credit: Warren Zelman.

Documenting and sharing the perspectives of women leaders is an effective way of amplifying the collective voices of women to bring about change. Women often do not have a platform to tell their stories. These stories are personal and resonate with those of other women who aspire to leadership positions. The Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project has captured some of these stories in our newest publication, "An Open Mind and a Hard Back: Conversations with African Women Leaders." 

This publication seeks to provide insights on ways women lead and govern, and the qualities and characteristics they have as leaders. It is a summary of interviews conducted with over a dozen women leaders working across the fields of government, health, law, and social reform in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Uganda, and Zambia. The interviews took place from January to March 2013.

Making of Banner for International Day of Persons with Disabilities {Photo Twitpic @UNICCanberra.}Photo Twitpic @UNICCanberra.

On December 3, 2012, the international community commemorated International Day of Persons with Disabilities. About 15 per cent of the global population --- more than one billion people ---  live with some form of disability.

About half are women living with disabilities, many of whom suffer disability-specific gender-based violence.

A tray of supplies, including household vinegar, used for screening patients. Masufu Hospital, Uganda. {Photo credit: M. Miller/MSH.}Photo credit: M. Miller/MSH.

Using a basic household item like vinegar to screen for a deadly disease is one of those "Aha!" solutions that will save lives. I had never imagined that I’d get to see the procedure in action.

Cervical cancer kills some 250,000 women every year -- over 80 percent from low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Early diagnosis can save lives, but many health facilities in developing countries struggle to find a way to screen women in remote, overcrowded settings. Last year, The New York Times talked about the success of using vinegar as a cervical cancer diagnostic method in Thailand, and yesterday SHOTS, NPR's health blog documented its life-saving use in Botswana.

Uganda. {Photo credit: Paydos/MSH.}Photo credit: Paydos/MSH.

The Ugandan government launched a new prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) strategy on September 12.

Uganda will transition from an approach based on the World Health Organization's (WHO) Option A --- which is contingent on an HIV-positive pregnant woman’s CD4 count --- to WHO's newest PMTCT strategy, Option B+.

Option B+ — whereby HIV-positive pregnant women receive lifelong treatment, regardless of their CD4 levels — originated in 2010 when the Malawian government decided to combine antiretroviral therapy (ART) with PMTCT in response to the challenges of providing reliable CD4 testing in remote settings.

The WHO updated its PMTCT guidelines with Option B+ in April of this year.

{Photo credit: MSH/Democratic Republic of the Congo.}Photo credit: MSH/Democratic Republic of the Congo.

On this historic World Population Day --- the first with the world’s population at seven billion and growing --- we call your attention to a crucial summit in London happening today, and to the ongoing importance of supporting access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health.

The London Summit

Over one hundred high-level decision-makers are convening at The London Summit on Family Planning in hopes of securing a better future for women and girls globally. Hosted by the UK government and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, with UNFPA and others, the summit seeks to provide an additional 120 million women in resource-poor countries with lifesaving contraceptives, information and family planning services by 2020.

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