How is India Promising to Improve Women’s Health at the ICPD?
Did you know that the government of India has pledged $ 3 billion for improving reproductive health services?
This week, leaders from across the globe, members of civil society, business leaders, community groups and youth leaders made a commitment to upholding the sexual and reproductive health of women world over.
It was the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) in Nairobi, a landmark event that took place this year 25 years after the historic ICPD in Cairo where 179 governments created an action plan for women’s empowerment and sexual and reproductive health for everyone.
It was here that a vision for reproductive rights and complete equality for all women and girls.
During the course of the Nairobi conference, leaders highlighted their nations' commitments to “to end preventable maternal death, meet all women’s demand for family planning, and stop violence against women and girls by 2030.”
What are India’s commitments to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and specifically to holistic women’s healthcare?
India’s Commitments to Women’s Health
India is a signatory to the ICPD Programme of Action, and has committed to achieving the universal SGDs by 2030. The current conference is hosted by the Governments of Denmark and Kenya and UNFPA ( the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency) to garner political consensus and financial commitments to ensure every single person has access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare services.
According to Arthur Erken, one of the three co-chairs of the International Steering Committee,
“The Nairobi summit aims to achieve three crucial zeros: zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal deaths and zero violence and harmful practices against women and girls, including child marriages and female genital mutilation.”
How is India placed in this global framework of ensuring women’s rights?
What are some of the specific measures India is proposing to improve women’s sexual, reproductive and maternal health?
- Increase family planning: India’s booming population comes at the cost of often ignoring women’s basic choice in family planning. Data shows there is an unmet need for contraception, so India will focus on meeting this demand by 2030.
- Improve the quality of maternal and healthcare services: To achieve the SDG target of a maternal mortality ratio (MMR) to fewer than 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, the SUMAN (Surakshit Matritav Aashwasan – Safe Motherhood Assurance) program will be used. India also commits to increased midwifery services.
- SGD 2.5 or stopping gender-based violence: India is proposing to work on specific legislation and schematic interventions to address this issue.
- Increased expenditure on reproductive healthcare: The Government of India has pledged $3 billion by 2020 for the increasing the quality of reproductive health services
- Specific policies to address gender-based selection: Despite efforts to address this, India still has a dismal male to female ration and this commitment is to solidify the fact that India is seriously addressing this imbalance.
What are India’s assurances to providing quality healthcare for everyone?
- Universal health coverage through Ayushman Bharat: Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana or the National Health Protection Scheme, healthcare services should reach 500 million Indians providing coverage of $7000 per family per year.
- India will create around 0.15 million health and wellness centers to provide primary health care.
- Comprehensive information and access to friendly health services for the youth: Under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK), all adolescents and especially girls will be exposed to quality health services and information.
- Increased investment in digital health: The future of healthcare is digital, and India is aiming to invest in digital healthcare innovations. They aim to improve the quality of research and data available and improve overall health data systems to aid in sustainable development by 2030.
- Increasing government spending on health
- Commit to improved education and economic prosperity to achieve sustainable development: These will improve the information and skills needed to enhance the health and well-being of all.
The ICPD provided an opportunity to showcase India’s specific plans and goals towards achieving quality healthcare for women, the youth and every one.
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