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Women Deliver Conference Concludes

The Women Deliver conference concluded on Wednesday, as attendees “celebrated benchmark achievements in reducing maternal and infant mortality and faced stubborn failures at the same time,” Womens eNews reports. Advocates were “able to savor success stories in countries such as Sri Lanka and Malawi … But the Women Deliver conference also offered a forum for tales of women still dying [from] preventable childbirth deaths and of inadequate access to family planning services for 215 million women worldwide,” the news service writes (Kramer, 6/10).

The “main message” of the conference, with around 3,500 delegates in attendance, focused on the importance of prioritizing women’s health worldwide, Inter Press Service reports. “The conference sought to generate commitment and investment toward reaching the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goal number five – to reduce the number of women dying in childbirth and achieve universal access to prenatal care and family planning services,” according to IPS.

Abortion “was largely sidestepped at the three-day conference,” IPS writes. “Instead, the panels discussed empowering women with the family planning tools and information needed protect their own health and that of their families. Decreasing the number of pregnant adolescents globally was also on the wish list,” according to the news service.

Women Deliver president Jill Sheffield said the conference comes “at a tipping point” for global maternal health. “The first Women Deliver conference in 2007 started a movement, and we now see a convergence of elements and interests. This interest has to be turned into action. The time is right,” she added (Berger, 6/9).