The health and status of women and girls are inextricably linked to the well-being and prosperity of families, communities, and economies. Yet today, nearly 15 years on from the launch of the MDGs, progress on reproductive health lags seriously behind. Approximately 800 women and girls die every day from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, and 99 percent of these occur in developing countries. Additionally, over 222 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception.
Investing in the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls has never been more critical. The largest-ever cohort of young people is entering their reproductive years, and their access to sexual and reproductive health information and services will have enormous implications for the trajectories of their lives. Advancing the reproductive health of women and girls also pays enormous dividends for development. Poverty rates go down, education rates go up and greater prosperity follows. Now is the time to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights is a priority in the post-2015 development agenda.
- Dr. Mwaba P. Kasese-Bota, ambassador and permanent representative of Zambia to the United Nations
- Honourable Inonge Wina, MP, minister of gender and child development, Zambia
- Honourable Jean Kapata, MP, deputy minister, community development, mother and child health, Zambia
- Ms. Marcia Banasko, World YWCA
- Ms. Riet Groenen, chief, Ending Violence Against Women Program, UN Women
- Mr. Douglas Webb, cluster leader: mainstreaming, gender & MDGs, for the HIV, health and development group at UNDP