Women Deliver, Inc.

Printer-friendly version
Meeting: 
Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Preparation for the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on universal health coverage
Statement: 

Women Deliver stresses the critical need for Member States, as guarantors of the right to health, to ensure gender equality and girls’ and women’s rights are central to universal health coverage (UHC).

To reap the health, economic, and social benefits of UHC, we need health systems that are gender responsive, and reflect how girls and women—in all their diversity— seek and experience healthcare. This includes, but goes beyond, their sexual and reproductive health and rights.
• Girls and women are 51% of the world’s population and face higher poverty
rates than males for much of their lives.
• They have unique and distinct health needs, that change throughout the
life-course.
• Women are 70% health workforce, yet inequities—including the
disproportionate burden of unpaid care—affect how they can leverage their
critical role in health delivery.
UHC design, financing, and implementation must address these realities head on.

Research shows that prioritizing gender equality in health is both the right and smart thing to do. Girls’ and women’s health drives health and prosperity for families and communities:
• The health of families is intimately linked with the health of the mother;
• Women invest more in the health of their children
• SRHR interventions have a 9:1 return on investment.
SRH interventions are also cost-effective and feasible to implement as part of UHC. A package of high-priority SRHR interventions is estimated to cost only $8.56 per person per year.

UHC must drive progress for gender equality and uphold global agreements on women’s rights—including the right to safe and quality abortion services. We must not allow political expediency to dictate policies that ignore or retreat on these fundamental issues.

UHC can change the lives of over a billion people who lack access to quality, affordable health services. Prioritizing gender equality and women’s rights is essential.