Women and Health Approach: Why Is it Essential for Mothers and Newborns?

Session: Maternal Newborn Health and Sustainable Development: What Can We Learn from Women and Health?

Presenter: Ana Langer, Maternal Health Task Force, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
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Over the last 50 years, global attention on women’s health has transitioned from a focus on children and mothers as their biological and social caregivers; an emphasis on the mothers; an expanded focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights; and, more recently, the impact of non-communicable diseases on women’s health. The women’s health agenda is far from finished and innovative approaches are needed to enable health systems, which heavily rely on women, to respond to women’s comprehensive needs. In this presentation we will discuss the novel approach of Women and Health (W&H) that conceives women as both users and providers of health care, aiming at advancing the women’s health agenda by supporting women as health care givers in the health system, their homes and communities, and understanding the connections between women’s roles as users and providers of health care. AL will also discuss how women who are healthy along their life cycle are essential for the wellbeing of their families and communities, and for nations’ sustainable development. In this presentation, we AL will describe the theoretical underpinnings and fundamental concepts of Women and Health, and some of the recommendations of the Commission at this critical juncture, when the Millennium Development Goals are transitioning into the broader agenda of sustainable development.