Mombasa Sustainability Forum – Reproductive Health
“Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights are Key Issues for Sustainable Development.”
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), formally adopted at a United Nations summit on September 15th, 2015, defined the global development agenda for its 193 member countries (including Kenya) to be achieved over the next 15 years, driving the allocation of global resources and determining policy priorities between now and 2030 on a range of important issues. The SDGs consist of 17 goals and 169 targets that focus on areas such as health, poverty eradication, quality education, water, energy and agricultural productivity, protection of the environment and equality. Notably, the global community is beginning to recognize the importance of women’s reproductive health and rights as a cornerstone of sustainable development. Gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls is not only one of the SDGs but is also critical to achieving all 17 of the goals.
For instance, women make up more than 40 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural workforce. Therefore, keeping women healthy can help ensure food security for all. Notably, gender discrimination, the root cause of many inequalities, is linked to higher HIV prevalence. The high cost of addressing HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses can drive families to financial ruin, trapping them in a cycle of poverty and weakening economies. Unfortunately, for many women and girls, gender discrimination continues to systematically undermine their access to health care, for reasons that include fewer financial resources and constraints on mobility. This is compounded by additional burdens imposed by gender disparities which limit their ability to stay healthy. These include long hours spent on domestic work, unsafe work environments and gender-based violence, with mechanisms for prevention and protection often inadequate.
Moreover, pregnancy and childbirth pose particular risks. As such, inattention to women’s health and rights takes a terrible toll on a country’s development potential. We envision a virtuous cycle that builds on the premise that women who are healthy throughout their lives experience gender equality and are enabled, empowered, and valued in their societies, including in their roles as caregivers,
are well prepared to achieve their potential and make substantial contributions to their own health and wellbeing, to that of their families and communities, and, ultimately, to sustainable development. Such thinking needs an interdisciplinary perspective hence our panel drawn from different backgrounds.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has outlined 7 things that are needed in order to realize sexual and reproductive health and rights for all: an enabling legal and policy environment to address inequalities; strengthened health and education systems; sex- and age-disaggregated data to ensure no one is left behind; targeted investments in women and girls; changing social norms that limit girls’ and women’s autonomy and ability to make independent decisions regarding their own bodies, while raising awareness among boys and men; and partnerships and greater collaboration across the health, education, gender, population and development sectors.
“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.”
The aim of this discussion is two-fold;
- Firstly, we want to highlight the progress that has been made in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights as it pertains to women in the last 5 years in our country guided by UNFPA recommendations.
- Secondly, we want to consider what the prospects are for attaining these goals by 2030 and what can be done that isn’t being done already / or what can be up scaled that has been shown to be thus far effective to ensure the SDGs are achieved.
The well-being of women determines the success of future generations. Participants in this discussion forum can play an important role in raising the profile of these essential issues.
About Mombasa Sustainability Forum
MSF is a thought leadership event planning platform that supports open science by offering the opportunity to host and participate in academic conferences and thought leadership. It provides an environment for scholarly exchange, discussion of topics of current interest, building of networks and establishing collaborations. MSF was launched in 2019 by Mombasa Adventure Magazine & Crystal Perk Co. Ltd., a Communications and Consumer insight consultancy, with offices in Mombasa, Kenya.
MSF does not only offer the possibility to participate in conferences, but invites reputable professionals, and scientists to organize their own versions of conferences and panel discussions.
Mombasa Adventure Magazine does the administrative efforts thanks to an online tool that supports all aspects of conference organization, including setting up and maintaining the conference website, managing the peer-review process, publishing the conference proceedings, handling and coordinating the conference schedule, registration, billing, sponsors, etc. Organizers can choose between physical and online conferences and whether they require administrative support from MSF staff.
MSF serves as a platform for conference registrations, and for conference abstract/paper submission and revision. Proceedings and presentations can be made available on MSF after the event.
Online conferences are events held online that presenters and attendees can participate for free. While the conference is running, participants can use MSF as a discussion forum on conference papers and presentations. Proceedings and discussions are immediately archived on MSF.