Universal Health Coverage Must Guarantee SRHR, Opinion Piece Says

Project Syndicate: A War of Words Fought over Women’s Bodies
Katja Iversen, president and CEO of Women Deliver

“This month, the United Nations General Assembly will hold a high-level meeting to secure a commitment by member states to deliver universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection and access to essential health-care services, medicines, and vaccines for all. But just how much countries commit to services that meet the unique needs of girls and women as part of their UHC implementation is still up for debate. … [F]or universal health coverage to be truly universal and transformative, it must embrace gender equality in all forms — and that also means providing explicit guarantees of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). … SRHR enables women to reach their full potential by, among other things, participating in their economies, politics, and societies. This boosts the wellbeing of families and communities, thereby contributing to overall economic growth and sustainable development. … ‘Health care for all’ includes sexual and reproductive health, and ‘all’ includes every person, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, ability, migration status, gender identity or expression, indigeneity, health condition, class, or caste. To have any chance of delivering this, SRHR must be recognized, funded, and manifested in every country and community in the world…” (9/19).