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Reports Released At Women Deliver Conference Support Better Data Collection To Improve Reproductive Health

“Lack of reliable data is hampering progress on improving reproductive health services for women and ‘must be seriously addressed’ at global and national levels, according to the World Bank,” which released a report on Tuesday at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, The Guardian reports. The report (.pdf), titled “Investing in women’s reproductive health: closing the deadly gap between what we know and what we do,” “outlines the health, social and economic benefits of improving women’s reproductive care, but says insufficient data makes it difficult to monitor progress and improve services,” the newspaper writes. “Without [data collection] systems, too much energy is spent on the estimation, and debating estimates, of mortality than actually addressing the problems and monitoring progress. … There needs to be much greater investment in collecting accurate and timely data on reproductive health,” the report states, according to The Guardian (Ford, 5/28). The report “demonstrates that addressing the reproductive health needs of women is critical to achieving gender equality and improved development outcomes,” a Global Health Strategies press release states (5/28).

Another report (.pdf) released on Tuesday at the conference by the Guttmacher Institute, titled “Adding It Up: The Need for and Cost of Maternal and Newborn Care, Estimates for 2012,” provides new regional data on the unmet need for maternal and newborn care,” according to the Global Health Strategies press release. “The report finds that additional investments in reproductive and maternal health would generate immediate returns in terms of reducing disability among women and newborns, and saving lives,” the press release states. Jeni Klugman, director of gender and development at the World Bank, said, “The research presented today shows that when we address the reproductive health needs of girls and women, the global economy is stronger, households are more likely to prosper and future generations have a greater chance of living long, healthy lives. … Investing in reproductive health and family planning is not just the right thing to do; it’s smart economics,” according to the press release (5/28).