Accessing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare

World Health Day, a two day conference convened healthcare providers for awareness on advanced sexual and reproductive health of women and men

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | April 8, 2019 | Mumbai


#reproductive health   #sexual health   #World Health Day   #Mumbai   #abortion   #women  
Illustration: Ashish Asthana
Illustration: Ashish Asthana

Approximately 2000 healthcare providers who serve Mumbai's 57,26,442 women attended the two day conference on sexual and reproductive health hosted by Mumbai Obstetric and Gynecological Society (MOGS) that co-occurred with the World Health Day on April 7. The federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI), The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) and The Asia and Oceanica Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AOFOG) were part of the organizers of the conference .             

 
Due to major hurdles being faced by both women and men in accessing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare, the conference addressed issues including family planning, abortion, LGBTQ rights, menstrual hygiene and dilemmas faced by obstetrician and gynecologists in daily practice and how to best support sexual and reproductive health needs of women and men. Discussions were held on gaps in sexual and reproductive healthcare, exploring practices that providers and stakeholders can adopt in closing the gaps and rallying participants around empowering more women so as to enable them to make choices about their own bodies.   
 
"Today millions of people across India, especially women have unmet need for quality, sexual and reproductive health services. Barriers to access include lack of awareness, stigma and legal restrictions. Yet it is heartening to see thousands of Mumbai's healthcare providers come together who are dedicated to breaking down these barriers," said Dr Nandita Palshetkar, president, FOGSI.
Rowshan Ara Begum, Chair, Sexual and Reproductive Health Committee, AOFOG, said that family planning which allows people to make decisions about when and how to have children is a fundamental reproductive right and cost effective pathway to sustainable development. "Every dollar spent on family planning can save up to six dollars for achieving other development goals. It is time to make universal access to family planning an international priority," she said.
    
Speaking on unmet need of safe abortion Dr Anibal Faundes, immediate past chair, Working Group on Preventing Unsafe Abortion, FIGO, said that in many places around the world such as in India it is legal and unfathomable that women still die every day from unsafe abortions. He emphasised that healthcare providers can play a critical role in addressing this problem by promoting accurate information about where and how women can access safe services, dispelling myths and creating a supportive environment for women who choose to terminate their pregnancies.
 
Globally, gaps in sexual and reproductive healthcare account for nearly one fifth of the burden of illness and premature deaths and one third of the illness and death among women of reproductive age. Sir A Arulkumaran, former president, RCOG and British Medical Association said that many countries face related pressing challenges in the field of obstetrics and gynecology- from improving access to contraception to removing harmful legal restrictions around abortion. Highlighting the value of such a global exchange programme, he said that such meets are important opportunities to focus on shared concerns, exchange knowledge and identify potential solutions that raise the bar of sexual and reproductive healthcare around the world. 

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