#May28 is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. Today women’s rights activists from around the world advocate and mobilize in various ways to remind governments that #WomensHealthMatters, particularly with regard to the negotiations around the post-2015 development agenda.
Despite Sri Lanka’s impressive national health indicators, there are disparities that exist especially in the conflict-affected areas of the North and East, districts that are economically under-performing and the estate sector. This year we highlight forms of institutional violence that violate women’s SRHR including denial of access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Pakistan launched its family planning programme in mid-1950’s and despite various other national programmes and policies that have been launched since then, achieving the MDGs and ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) commitments still look like a distant dream for Pakistan. According to Pakistan’s Millennium Development Goals Report in 2013, the country still has a very high maternal mortality ratio (276). The report also reveals that progress on indicators such as proportion of births attended by skilled birth attendants, contraceptive prevalence rate, and total fertility rate has been dismal.
Challenges such as lack of a solid financial infrastructure to ensure universal provision of health services, a poor monitoring and evaluation mechanism of existing systems, political changes and fading commitments by the state plague Pakistan’s progress in the area of sexual and reproductive health services.
The findings of a national study, Post-Abortion Care in Pakistan, issued by Population Council in 2013, show that Pakistan has made strides of progress in the area of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). However, there is still a long way to go as a large proportion of women still have unmet need for contraception (as high as 20%, according to the latest PDHS) and safe abortion needs. A huge percentage of women are still experiencing post- abortion complications (estimated 15 per 1,000 women of reproductive age) and the contraception prevalence rate is still very low (approximate level of contraceptive use among married women aged 15-49 is as low as 30 percent).
On May 28 International Day of Action for Women’s Health, we emphasize that #WomensHealthMatters in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the region and the world.
We call on our government, international organizations, UN agencies, civil society partners and relevant duty bearers to take the following actions: