Country: United States of America
Delegate Name: Natalie Mouw
Improving Maternal Health
United States of America
Forest Hills Eastern
Nearly 300,000 women still die during pregnancy and childbirth each year, due to largely preventable and treatable causes. 200 million women do not have access to modern contraception. Access for women to proper healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth, and post-natal care must become a right for women across the globe. While the past half-century has seen a promising increase in the awareness of maternal health issues and women’s medical rights, there remains a stark disparity between women’s health in industrialized compared to developing countries. In remote areas of underdeveloped countries, women are unable to receive the assistance they need. This is due to both limited healthcare in developing areas as well as a travel barrier to proper medical care. The disparity widens daily; although it is vital for industrialized countries to continue forging new, necessary treatments for women’s health, it remains a pressing issue that developing countries are not left on their own to fall further behind in the area of maternal health. Women in developing countries often do not have access to health facilities, pregnancy counseling, nutritional education, contraceptives, family planning services, or HIV treatments.
Improving the health of women significantly impacts the health and economic well-being of families and societies for the better, and therefore must be treated as a top-most priority.
The United States is the largest donor to women’s health in the world and has been for decades. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has played a substantial role in advancing the health of women in low and middle-income countries. USAID’s support of international family planning activities started in 1965, and the United State’s determination to improve the health of women across the globe is reflected in continued USAID efforts over the years. Today, major efforts include programs by USAID for maternal and child health, nutrition, family planning, and reproductive health programs. Additionally, the US federal program responding to global HIV/AIDS had an emphasis on adolescent girls’ health with the DREAMS initiative – aiming to reduce rates of HIV among young women and teen girls in countries with the highest HIV rates. The impact of these US programs spans more than 50 low and middle-income countries, and their footprint continues to grow. USAID’s investments helped reduce rates of death during childbirth by more than 50% (source). Additionally, countries supported by the USAID family planning and reproductive health program have increased contraceptive prevalence and new HIV infections have fallen in countries with US federal support.
Despite the global progress the US has assisted in improving women’s health, there is always more to be done. The United States is devoted to reaching across border lines and continuing to offer resources and medical aid to not only assist with current maternal health issues in developing countries but also to strengthen the foundation of maternal health in these countries. The United States envisions an increased availability of medical education and specific education for women to be aware of their medical rights. The US also plans to improve access to medical education, pregnancy counseling, and parental planning in low and middle-income countries. While the current USAID programs reach these goals, the US looks to continue the USAID missions and partner with other developed countries and the United Nations to continue improving women’s health and spreading outreach to more developing areas.