Putting Women and Children First (Part 1)

Putting Women and Children First (Part 1)

Nurses at health clinic Virgen del Lourdes in Lima, Peru (Photo Credit: Leslie Alsheimer)

This is the first in a series of four stories about how strong health systems improve the health of women and children.

Last year, we shared with you stories of the people we work alongside all over the world. We introduced you to Aster Amanuel Desalegn, a 70 year-old woman from Ethiopia who relies on her town's public hospital for her diabetes medication. You met Linvell Nkhoma, a midwife manager in Malawi who lives on the hospital premises so she can be on call 24 hours per day. And you heard from Animata Bassama, a representative from a community in Mali that worked with MSH to open a center providing a safe space for gender-based violence survivors to seek medical and psychosocial care.

President Trump's reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, threatens the health systems that support Aster, Linvell, and Animata, and millions of women around the world. President Trump's expanded policy will apply to any foreign organization that receives any US global health funding. Since many global health programs deliver integrated services, this policy could potentially affect efforts to fight Zika virus, the expansive PEPFAR program to treat and prevent HIV and AIDS, vaccination programs, as well as family planning and maternal health programs.

Related: MSH's statement on the Global Gag Rule

Last week Catharine Taylor, vice president of health programs at MSH, weighed in on the issue in an opinion article published on STAT, a national news publication focused on health, medicine, and scientific discovery.

"Under the Trump version of the global gag rule, millions of women in some of the poorest places in the world will lose access to affordable, high-quality, comprehensive reproductive health care, and will be less able to make informed health choices. Health systems in countries that are now showing real, sustainable progress in improving population health will be weakened. Good organizations that do effective, lifesaving work will have to cut back their activities or go out of business. The US investment in global health will be much less effective."

Read the full article on STAT's website