Carolyn Hart will be presenting at the 3rd Global Women Deliver conference this month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
I absolutely love the name “Women Deliver” – the double entendre of it, the putting together of two simple but powerful words. And it always makes me think of other combinations that are equally necessary for our objectives to be realized: Women Participate. Women Lead. Women Advocate. Women Agitate. Then, women can truly deliver.
This year at the conference, we will meet colleagues, exchange ideas, and renew our commitment to the health and empowerment of girls and women by focusing on specific needs for making pregnancy and childbirth less dangerous, among other things. I will be looking for opportunities to collaborate with others who share my belief in the importance of providing key commodities for maternal and child health, including contraceptives.
It has been a privilege to be a part of the reproductive health supplies movement. FP2020, Every Woman Every Child, and the UN Commission on Life-Saving Commodities for Women and Children highlight the importance of key products for maternal and child health, and that helps us advance the movement. Even so, the availability of reproductive health supplies and medicines to ensure healthy pregnancy and delivery falls short of current worldwide demand – and expectations – and, let’s be honest, our abilities. We can do this!
One way we, collectively, are trying to solve the problem is through small, “do-able” actions. Focusing on a short list of health products is one way to approach it, and the UN Commission has been a helpful step in highlighting priority products.
Still, so many challenges remain. Those products must go into, or move through, large systems that are not robust, not well integrated, not efficient, or not well-supported. To me, this tension is reminiscent of the dual contributions women make every day, everywhere, as they both care for their own and their families’ daily needs (the “small do-able actions”) and simultaneously build and maintain the fabric of communities and nations (think “health system strengthening”). Delivering supplies and changing systems: It’s a huge job, but in small, achievable steps, we are making steady progress throughout the world in women’s lives and the lives of their families and communities.
At the conference, I will be at the “In Our Hands” pre-conference event the morning of May 27, speaking on a panel on Integration of Contraception with Other Health and Non-Health Components on May 29 at 11 a.m., and offering a “Tech&Tech” session on supply chain integration, segmentation, and evolution on the 29th at 3:50 p.m. Hope to see you there, and to learn from you!