Health progress is stalling, highlighting equity gaps in access to health care for women, children and adolescents
- A woman dies every two minutes during pregnancy and childbirth – with most deaths concentrated in low-income countries, highlighting equity gaps in access to healthcare.
- A child or youth dies once every 4.4 seconds
- The number of pregnant women and girls suffering from malnutrition has soared by 25% in the last two years
- By 2030, there will be more than 89 million additional women and adolescents who will need access to contraceptives in GFF eligible countries (GFF)
- At least 10 million unintended pregnancies among adolescents each year (GFF)
Uganda offered financial incentives to primary health care providers to offer contraceptives and counseling. More than 1,000 community health workers were trained in adolescent and youth friendly services and community. In addition, youth advocates were trained in family planning. Now, more women and adolescents are visiting health facilities for their contraception needs.
In Burkina Faso, efforts to strengthen the health workforce are paying off. Regions that invested more in training community health workers in family planning and youth friendly services saw the largest increase in contraceptive prevalence rate, compared to other regions in the country.
"After receiving training on family planning, I am now better placed to advocate for young people’s health to ensure they have a favorable environment to access quality youth friendly services. As a result of this advocacy, the district decided to allocate drugs and designate a health worker to the youth center. “ —Specioza Nayiga, Youth Representative, District Committee of Adolescent Health (DICAH), Wakiso, Uganda
2. Protecting women and adolescents thought legal reforms
Reforming harmful laws and norms that hinder women’s and girls’ choice, access, voice and agency over their own health can help close equity gaps.
Take Cameroon, for example, where the teenage pregnancy rate is the highest in Central Africa but for many decades, pregnant girls were not allowed to stay in school, resulting in high dropout rates. In collaboration with the GFF, the World Bank and other partners, the government amended a national regulation allowing pregnant girls to remain in school –a step towards closing gender gaps and protect the health and well-being of adolescent girls, shielding pregnant girls against discrimination and social stigmatization.
“The only way we can build efficient and sustainable health care systems for adolescents is through collective action and empowering young people to act. By working with partners, such as the GFF and the World Bank, we can place young people at the center of country efforts to build resilient health systems that can respond to adolescent needs.” —Aminata Badiane Thioye, Gender and Advocacy coordinator, National Alliance of Youth for Reproductive Health and Family Planning (ANJSRPF)
The GFF supports countries to strengthen data systems and indicators that call attention to persistent gender inequalities. A new partnership between the GFF and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health - the Monitoring and Action for Gender and Equity (MAGE) initiative aims to equip decision makers with the gender data they need.