Gender, Women's Health and Ageing


The Gender, Women's Health and Ageing Programme supports Member States to formulate, implement and evaluate health policies, programmes and services that contribute to gender equity and improve women's health throughout their lifespan.

International Women’s Day 2015: Message of the WHO Regional Director for Africa

DrMoetiOn 8 March 2015, we commemorate International Women's Day. The Day presents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality, encouraging effective action for advancing and recognizing women’s rights.

The global theme for this year’s celebration “Make It Happen” highlights the urgent need for concrete actions to achieve true gender equality for sustainable socioeconomic development. From the health perspectives, the theme calls for accelerating universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including services to maternal and newborn health as fundamental requirements for the socioeconomic development of countries.

The international community, countries and partners have made commitments for strengthening gender equality and empowering women. Substantial achievements have been made towards these commitments resulting in progress in equitable health and development. However, this progress has been slow and there is an urgent need for renewed commitments and innovative strategies to equitably reach all individuals.

While progress has been made in improving reproductive health information and services, large disparities in access exist within and between countries. With the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) coming to a close, there has been slow, uneven and, for some countries in Africa, lack of progress in reduction of maternal and newborn mortality, or improvement in the other indicators that contribute to achieving MDG 5 on the reduction of maternal mortality. Of the eight United Nations MDGs, the goal of improving maternal health is the one that remains far from being attained...

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