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is marking the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day with a global campaign to raise awareness about women’s issues and celebrate women’s achievements. EngenderHealth was selected as “one of the incredible organizations that work to improve the lives of women worldwide.” Check out a “bridge event” near you and join in the celebration.

To mark the upcoming 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, this issue of Connect highlights the important strides to date in advancing women’s reproductive health and rights and the critical challenges that remain. In this issue:

  • Significant progress in improving maternal health in Bangladesh
  • Latest update on U.S. policy and funding for sexual and reproductive health
  • USAID Administrator reaffirms commitment to the Global Health Initiative
  • Career opportunities


Global Perspectives

Just Launched:
The Maternal Health Task Force web site is now available in Spanish, French, and Arabic.

Significant Drop in Maternal Mortality in Bangladesh
A new health survey reveals a stunning 40% drop in maternal mortality in Bangladesh in less than a decade—from 322 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2001 to 194 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. This progress is due to a number of factors, including improved access to obstetric care for complications, more women giving birth in a hospital, and greater use of family planning. Read more.


Policy Updates

Sign our Action Alert! Ask your senators to protect funding for family planning and other reproductive health services.
Vital Reproductive Health Programs in Jeopardy
The U.S. Senate is considering a spending bill that would fund the federal government until September 30, the end of fiscal year (FY) 2011. At stake is funding for international family planning programs and Title X, the only federal program dedicated to domestic family planning and reproductive health. The House of Representatives voted to cut funding for both in its version of the bill on February 19. Read more, and sign our action alert.

Lawmakers to Reintroduce Bills Supporting Women and Girls
During the previous session of Congress, several bills supporting the rights of women and girls failed to garner the votes needed for passage, including the International Violence Against Women Act (S.2982 and H.R.4594). In this session of Congress, plans are under way to reintroduce the following bills from 2010:

  • Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope, and Dignity Restoration Act
  • Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act
  • International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act

Read more about these efforts.


New Publications and Resources <empty>

USAID Reaffirms Commitment to Global Health Initiative
In a major speech at the National Institutes of Health last month, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) reaffirmed the Obama Administration’s commitment to the six-year, $63 billion Global Health Initiative. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah emphasized the need to increase speed and efficiency in connecting important scientific breakthroughs in our laboratories to the people in developing countries who need them most. By enhancing this connection, we stand to save the lives of more than 3 million children, prevent more than 12 million HIV infections, ensure 200,000 more safe births, and prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies, Shah said.

Million for a Billion Campaign
Advocacy organizations are endorsing a petition campaign asking the U.S. Congress to appropriate $1 billion for family planning and reproductive health. The “Million for a Billion” initiative aims to secure 1 million signatures to support this cause, in light of the numerous legislative attacks on family planning and reproductive health in the FY 2011 spending debates. Add your signature today!

EngenderHealth Welcomes Cofounder and CEO of Hamlin Fistula Hospital
On February 10, EngenderHealth hosted Catherine Hamlin, cofounder, and Mark Bennett, chief executive officer, of Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, formerly known as the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital. They delivered a moving presentation on the decades of work by the hospital to help Ethiopian women living with fistula. They also met with EngenderHealth’s Fistula Care team to discuss collaboration in the country.


New Publications and Resources <empty>

Fistula Blog Series Features EngenderHealth Articles
EngenderHealth co-launched a special blog series about obstetric fistula that seeks to bolster efforts to increase U.S. international support. At RH Reality Check, the series features articles by EngenderHealth experts Karen Beattie, Joseph Ruminjo, and Moustapha Diallo.


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