The Millenium Project released a major evidence-based report yesterday calling for the inclusion of reproductive health goals and clearly stating that the UN's Development Goals for 2015 cannot be met without them. The report was released during the 33rd Annual Global Health Council meeting in Washington, DC.
The report, entitled Public Choices, Private Decisions: Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Millenium Development Goals is an effort to help the world see the integreal relationship between sexual and reproductive health and acheiving all of the other goals.
Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said, "the report lays out measurable, specific goals, and a timeline for deliverables and it is important they are included" in the process.
The Millennium Project has specific goals for security and development to acheive by 2015 to improve health, nutirion, education, security and economic development.
Stan Bernstein, the report's primary author, said issues around sexual and reproductive health have been, "confused and politicized" and said the report set out to provide the data that global leaders have used to come to the conslusions they have come to about the importance of improving sexual and reproductive health.
Anna Langer, President of Engender Health said that the NGO community is "trying to be calm, but we have lost ground on several fronts" related to progress on improving women's lives and access to sexual and reproductive health care globally.
Many conferees raised issues about consistency in messaging. Specifically, when it comes to sexual and reproductive heatlh because the subjects are often taboo, it is important for public health advocates and governments not contradict one another. The obvious concern is that as ideology increasingly replaces provable public health data about what works in preventing disease and promoting family planning and decision making, messaging is confused. The result is people not understanding how to assert their individual rights and shared responsibilities when it comes to sexual and reproductive heatlh.
This is just the latest example of how narrow political ideology is contributing to, not solving, global public health problems.
RH Reality Check was pleased to cover the release of this report and next week will provide our first web cast with the presentaiton made by Jeffrey Sachs and interviews with Stan Bernstein and Anna Langer. Register now to ensure you are notified by email once this video is avaiable.