|Five Things the World Can Do to Improve Maternal Health|
>>Available in PDF1) VALUE WOMEN'S LIVES
The number of maternal deaths each year--550,000--has remained constant for more than a decade because leaders have not made the investments needed. Leaders at all levels can save women's lives and improve their health by:
Unsafe abortions account for 13% of maternal deaths worldwide. Safe and legal abortion saves women's lives and protects their health. Governments, donors, health practitioners, and civil society can work for legal and policy reform, develop and sustain robust advocacy, provide safe services, and ensure that all women know their options.
3) MAKE HEALTH SYSTEMS WORK FOR WOMEN
As funding and political support for strengthening health systems increases, priority should be given to poor women of reproductive age and their very young children. Building capacity to deliver sexual and reproductive health services, including prenatal and obstetric care, and making services attractive to men and adolescents will provide a foundation for strengthening health services overall.
4) INVEST HIV/AIDS RESOURCES IN WOMEN AND GIRLS
In every region of the world, more women are living with HIV than ever before. No progress will be made in improving their health if this challenge is not addressed. Investing HIV resources in sexual and reproductive health services, programs that protect sexual and reproductive rights, and comprehensive sexuality education will help prevent maternal morbidity and mortality and HIV infections, and ensure equitable access to treatment, care, and support.
5) SUPPORT YOUNG PEOPLE
About one-third of the world's population is under 19. Typically denied health services and information, they are often vulnerable to unwanted or coerced sex, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Millions of girls are married and expected to bear children before they are physically or emotionally ready. Leaders and activists--including young people themselves--can mobilize for access to sexual and reproductive health information, education, and services.