Global Health Leaders Should Use Zika Epidemic As Opportunity To Invest In Women’s Health Infrastructure

The Guardian: Zika: Let’s give women the contraception they so desperately want
Grace Tillyard, director of communications and outreach for Innovating Health International in Haiti, and Vincent DeGennaro Jr., president of Innovating Health International in Haiti and assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Medicine at the University of Florida College of Medicine

“…Declaring contraception as the cheapest and most effective way to deal with the [Zika epidemic] would be a bold step towards lobbying all governments in the [Latin America] region to expand these much-needed services. In addition, contraception in low- and middle-income countries results in better birth-spacing, reduced maternal mortality and infant mortality, and advances in the socioeconomic status of women. The Zika crisis, like abstinence-based teachings for HIV prevention, is a missed opportunity to invest in women’s health infrastructure, where ideology trumps public health and financial logic in Latin America and the Caribbean. Transnational public health authorities, like the CDC and WHO, are allowing politics with antipathy to women’s reproductive health to pollute public health logic, forcing countries to commit ineffective funds and set a standard that leaves women behind. Will we let yet another crisis go by without addressing reproductive health services for half our population?” (11/20).

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