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Sexuality, abortion care, gender violence and fertility are essential interventions for a new health agenda in the world

Which are the new priorities of global health?

On the week of May 7, the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission, composed of 16 experts from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Latin America, presented a report detailing the essential interventions to improve global health. This report points out the need to implement a broader definition of health and rights, both sexual and reproductive. A definition that encompasses not only disease prevention and contraception, but also effective sex education, fertility services and counseling on gender-based violence.

The work-based interventions are aimed especially at addressing areas that have been neglected such as: fertility services, prevention, detection and counseling on gender violence, treatment and prevention of cervical cancer, safe care during abortion, treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV and comprehensive sex education.

The report states that "sexual and reproductive health and rights are fundamental to people’s health and survival, to economic development, and to the wellbeing of humanity". It also explains that despite all the benefits of investing in sexual and reproductive health, progress has been stalled due to lack of political commitment, scarce resources, persistent discrimination against women and girls, and the lack of will to address issues related to open sexuality.

Alex Ezeh, co-president of the Commission and former executive Director of the African Population and Health Research Center, said that "it’s time to eliminate these inequities with a comprehensive approach that doesn’t overlook critical components like access to safe and legal abortion, prevention of reproductive cancers, treatment for infertility". It is because of this that governments are called upon to implement policies and actions, to allow all citizens to achieve their rights in sexual and reproductive health and to avoid gender inequality.

The Science News and Information Service (SINC, by its acronym in Spanish) shows that these rights are not yet secured, since 25 million unsafe abortions are carried out annually in the world. Moreover, between 49 and 180 million of couples are affected by infertility, almost two million people are infected with HIV, approximately 266,000 women die of cervical cancer and it is predicted that one in three women will experience gender violence at some point in their lives. This is mainly because interventions have focused only on contraception, maternal and neonatal health, and HIV / AIDS.

The Guttmacher-Lancet Commission shows that, in addition to the need to implement these measures, these are also affordable. This is because these involve a minimum global investment of 54,000 million dollars, equivalent to only 9 dollars per person per year, which makes its execution possible to run in most low and middle-income countries.

The implementation of this basic package of interventions will lead to improve health and well-being, promote gender equality, to increase productivity and family income, and to improve the health and well-being of children.

Latin American Post | Andrea del Pilar Rojas Riaño

Translated from "¿Cuáles son las nuevas prioridades de la salud global?"

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