Every woman and adolescent girl has the right to keep themselves and their baby healthy and thriving. But access to sexual and reproductive health services and education are preventing many women and adolescent girls, and their children, from being fully able to exercise their rights in many parts of the world. With your endorsement and support from the Government of Canada, we are working to help change the birth story!
Here are three simple reasons why we need to help change the birth story:
1. Because women and girls are dying
Did you know every day approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth? And that complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for 15 to 19 year old girls globally? Motherhood and childbirth can be a dangerous health risk in some parts of the world. Addressing maternal, newborn and child health and sexual and reproductive health inequities is a human rights issue that stems from gender inequality.
Plan International Canada is currently supporting sexual and reproductive health programs in numerous developing nations to tackle these issues.
2. To promote gender equality
Plan International Canada recognizes that gender inequality is a key factor in determining the well-being of women, adolescents and children. Often, women and adolescents girls do not:
a) have the power to make decisions about their health;
b) are economically dependent on their male family members; and
c) have little support to seek services.
In order to support women, men, boys and girls to change the birth story, we must actively work to promote gender equality. Here are a few ways in which we are doing that:
- We work to support and promote the empowerment of women and girls by increasing their knowledge of sexual, reproductive, neonatal and child health and by increasing their power to make decisions in their homes and communities.
- We work with communities to increase both access and quality of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.
- Engage men and boys as active partners of change.
- Work at the health facility level to improve the quality of services to be inclusive of the diverse needs of women, adolescent girls and their male partners.
3. To help build communities
In order to change the birth story and improve the health of women and girls, we recognize that we must actively engage all members of the community. Our work is to raise the status of women and girls while improving access to care and education and by changing unequal power relations between men, women, girls and boys.
We engage the community by facilitating the development of a variety of community led groups. Volunteers, peer educators, health providers and community members are trained to lead the groups (often referred to as clubs) and they facilitate conversation, lead games and activities with group members, and share important information. The clubs meet regularly and their objective is to provide a safe space and supportive environment in which members can share their stories and learn about reproductive health, financial savings, gender equality, etc. Often, group members will take what they learned or discussed in these groups and share it with their friends and families, spreading their knowledge to the wider community.
These clubs can be life changing. See how a young couple in Ghana benefited from these structures and are now carving a brighter future for themselves and their baby!
Your name has power
It takes just 60 seconds to fill out our form and endorse the statement below. Too many women and girls are losing their lives and their potential to thrive because they lack access to appropriate reproductive health services and education. Use your name to help us change the birth story!
I stand with Canada to change the birth story because I believe that every adolescent girl, woman and child has the right to be healthy and to live a life free of discrimination.