London, December 9, 2013 – The world is still underfunding health: so what kind of new development paradigm will succeed in ensuring comprehensive and equitable health care for all, and where will sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender equality fit in?
Papers in the latest themed issue of Reproductive Health Matters explore the recent history of sexual and reproductive health and rights at the global policy level, and the evolution of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Papers provide a critique of the MDG model; address the best model for ensuring that health is prioritised for all; and what must be addressed in the new development framework. They look at how to ensure that SRHR and gender equality are addressed in the new paradigm; explore the role of advocacy; and express the imperative to bridge the gap between international agreements and the reality of people's experience at country and service level.
Across several papers authors explore the theme of appropriate targets and indicators of development, how to set them, monitor them, ensure they are locally relevant and really contribute to achieving the wider goal, learning from some of the unintended consequences of the MDGs.
The maternal health goal MDG 5 was interpreted narrowly in many countries. How did it impact on the wider SRHR agenda? What influence did it have on health policy at country level and its impact on service providers and women? One paper exposes the negative feelings of those charged with delivering maternity care in the community in Nicaragua at being co-opted into meeting targets on institutional birth linked to MDG 5 targets.
To ensure SRHR issues are tackled advocates need to link them to inequalities in gender, and sustainable development issues such as growth, population, urbanisation, and migration. Whatever the framework to be adopted, several authors promote a human rights approach to addressing health, and to ensuring good governance and accountability. One author calls for a potent mix of advocacy, movement building to 'shift cultural practices, laws and policies that harm women and girls'.
Overall, authors of papers published in the issue call for policies and practices that are transformational even as governments and donors are failing to meet their current health funding commitments, particularly – though not exclusively – in Africa. 'Until that scenario changes a new development paradigm and with it a new goal for health will remain an aspiration that cannot be expected to succeed," said Marge Berer, Editor of Reproductive Health Matters.
Notes to editors
The issue "New development paradigms post 2015: critical analysis" of Reproductive Health Matters, Volume 21, Issue 42 (November 2013) published by Elsevier, is now available on ScienceDirect.
Full texts of articles are available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Lisa Hallgarten at +44 207 267 6567 or email@example.com.
About Reproductive Health Matters (RHM)
Reproductive Health Matters is published twice a year, in May and November in English, with editions in translation in Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. RHM covers laws, policies, research and services that meet women's reproductive health needs. Each issue focuses on a main theme and includes feature papers, topical papers on other subjects and a round-up of information from published literature. http://www.rhmjournal.org.uk
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