After Women Deliver: ensuring evidence-based investments in sexual and reproductive health
Women Deliver, held May 28 – 30 in Kuala Lumpur, concluded with a unified call to action: invest in women and girls. As the US Agency for International Development’s flagship project for strengthening family planning and reproductive health service delivery, the E2A mandate is tied directly to that call. By increasing support and building evidence for the scale-up of best practices that improve family planning services and reproductive health, and supporting scale-up processes ourselves, we are enabling governments, implementers and donors to make evidence-based investments in women and girls.
Building evidence and supporting the scale-up of best practices ensure those investments have the greatest possible impact. This is particularly relevant given the recent global financial commitments to FP2020—a major topic at the conference —which are intended to support programs and services that will meet the unmet need for contraception among 120 million women and girls by year 2020.
To increase the feasibility of reaching that FP2020 goal, Women Deliver hosted many discussions on strengthening the capacities of those providing family planning services at the facility and community levels. E2A is contributing to this area in several African countries and globally by facilitating the recent completion of the Training Resource Package on Family Planning. The resource package is a “one stop shop” for up-to-date and evidence-based materials that can be used to train health professionals— including those based in the community—in the safe and effective delivery of family planning services.
E2A at Women Deliver
E2A presentations at Women Deliver focused specifically on moving evidence to action in the following areas:
- Improving young people’s sexual and reproductive health.
- Emergency contraception as a viable approach to curbing unintended pregnancies.
- Workplace health programs as a platform for delivering family planning services, improving reproductive health, and scaling up family planning and reproductive health programs.
Speaking at a conference that sponsored the attendance of 100 “youth ambassadors” and addressed sexual and reproductive health as a human right, Regina Benevides, E2A’s senior youth advisor, described the inequitable power dynamics that prevent youth from attaining this right: limited mobility and finances, and stigma among peers, communities and the very health workers providing them with sexual and reproductive health services. To address the diverse needs of young people, she called for youth-friendly service models tailored to the needs of different segments of this group.
Also presenting E2A’s preliminary findings from a synthesis report on emergency contraception programs, Ms. Benevides discussed how the study would build evidence for the scale-up of successful emergency contraception programs in other countries. The report looks at how emergency contraception programs in Senegal, Kenya, Bangladesh and Mexico have strengthened the delivery of family planning and reproductive health services.
Leah Freij, E2A’s senior gender and youth advisor, talked to an audience about E2A’s partnership with the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), which will enable E2A to conduct operations research on the effect of workplace health programs on the uptake of family planning and reproductive health services. Depending on the findings, BSR may be able to use the study results to show global brand companies and supply factories the benefits of investing in reproductive health programs for their female workers, and encourage further investments in these types of programs.
Murtala Mai, E2A’ senior technical advisor who focuses on best practices and community-based services, also attended Women Deliver, participating in a meeting with those leading BSR’s Health Enables Returns project (HERproject). During the meeting, Mr. Mai facilitated the review and development of tools and indicators for strengthening service delivery and assessing the impact of HERproject sites in Pakistan, India, Kenya, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Bangladesh and Egypt. The results of that meeting will also be applied to future sites within those countries and beyond.
For more information on our current programs, or to obtain a copy of E2A’s presentations from Women Deliver, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.