IntraHealth International Inc.(IntraHealth)

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Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
12.8 Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016–2030)

IntraHealth International commends the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescent Health’s explicit focus on highlighting the targets of SDG 5.

Going forward, WHO and Member States should place a clear focus on addressing SDG target 5.1 on ending all forms of discrimination against all women and girls. Discrimination faced by women and girls in health systems places them at acute risk for poor health outcomes and threatens achievement of universal health coverage.

Violence, which contributes to poor health outcomes, is a case in point. The 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women states that “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men, and to the prevention of the full advancement of women.”

Yet the alarming finding in the global strategy that 35% of women having experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetimes shows member states have not done nearly enough for women in the 26 years since the declaration’s adoption. Likely due at least in part to denial that there is a problem of women’s subordination, dis-empowerment and normative gender discrimination that is unfavorable to women with negative effects on the health of women, adolescents, and children remain.

Achieving UHC and the triple billion targets demands integrated, inclusive strategies that address gender and other social determinants of health, including strategies that counter discrimination and vigorously protect women’s human rights.