Opinion Pieces Discuss Women’s Reproductive Rights, Strengthening Health Systems In Light Of Zika Outbreak

Project Syndicate: Zika and Reproductive Rights
Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition

“…The Zika crisis has highlighted an obvious reality: Not providing women with reproductive health information and services places their lives — and those of their children — at grave risk. … The movement for reproductive rights has a long history in Brazil and in other parts of Latin America. Over the last several months — even before Zika — feminists had been taking to the streets in outrage at the lack of access to safe and legal abortions. The Zika crisis may mark a turning point in the fight for women’s health and equality. It is certainly a wake-up call for governments everywhere to rebuild and strengthen public health systems, and to guarantee all women and girls access to contraceptives and safe abortions…” (2/16).

Devex: Protecting women and children in Zika-affected countries
Jonathan Quick, president and chief executive officer of Management Sciences for Health; Nancy A. Aossey, president and CEO of International Medical Corps; and Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network

“The explosion of the Zika virus in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean has provided more vivid evidence of the urgency to invest in pandemic prevention and preparedness. … Three urgent actions are critical now for the well-being of women and children in Zika-affected countries: 1. Highly aggressive mosquito control is vital to reverse the explosion of new cases. … 2. Governments and communities must support women to make informed, empowered choices about pregnancy. … 3. National health services, local civil society, churches, and others must begin working with families and communities to create the necessary developmental and support services for children with Zika-related disabilities. … In a globalized world, a weak public health system anywhere increases people’s vulnerability everywhere. … The strongest defense against Zika and other emerging infectious disease epidemics is to focus on investing in strengthening national and local public health systems…” (2/16).

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