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Prioritizing Health For Women, Girls Worldwide

“Africa has the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, with 48 percent of all global maternal deaths occurring in this region,” Jotham Musinguzi, regional director of the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office in Kampala, Uganda, writes in an Independent opinion piece. But “[i]f we provide girls, women and their partners with family planning information and services we can empower them to decide the number, timing and spacing of their children — and whether they want to become pregnant at all,” he states, adding, “Intended pregnancies are safer and healthier pregnancies.”

However, progress is being made, as the WHO estimates “one-third fewer women worldwide are dying from complications during pregnancy and childbirth now than in 1990,” and maternal mortality has declined 26 percent in sub-Saharan Africa over the past 20 years, Musinguzi notes. “We have also seen greater political commitment towards reducing maternal deaths. This month, the U.S. and Ugandan governments announced that they plan to work together toward stopping maternal mortality, with a focus on family planning, skilled care at birth and emergency obstetric and postpartum care,” he writes, concluding, “The time is now to deliver for girls and women. Let’s join together to celebrate them every day by making their health and well-being a top global priority” (3/20).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.