They NEED access to reproductive health services too.

By: Emma Emma Ziulkowski

The lack of reproductive health services in developing countries has been a major problem resulting in many deaths. Reproductive health is important for a woman’s mental, psychical, and social well-being. The failure of reproductive health services leads to high rates of maternal mortality, HIV outbreaks, pelvic infections, unhealthy pregnancies and so much more.

Joseph Kasonde is well known in Europe as the Acting Regional Adviser for Women’s and Reproductive Health. He collects research for the lack of reproductive health services in developing countries. Kasonde says, “Ninety percent of the 585,000 women who die annually in the world from pregnancy related complications are in developing countries.” That’s such a high percentage for developing countries which makes it known that these high rates of maternal mortality are due to the lack of reproductive health services. According to the World Health Organization, “… at the end of 2007, 33.2 million people were living with HIV… more than 95% of HIV infections are in developing countries.” Imagine how many of those 33.2 million people are women, and how many of these women don’t have knowledge of their HIV infection due to the lack of reproductive health services? How many women do you think pass HIV to their newborn children unintentionally? Pelvic infections are another common issue women have in developing countries that often times lead to infertility. In addition, women are having unhealthy pregnancies because there’s no prenatal care being offered to them.

These developing countries are being prevented from having basic social and economic advancements that developed countries have. These are hard to obtain because these countries are extremely poor. It’s a vicious cycle that always comes back to money. There are many programs that allow people to donate to these developing countries especially on matters of reproductive health services, but the money usually goes to individuals that need immediate help.

The bigger picture is that money needs to be invested in these reproductive health services now, so in the future there will be less money going towards all these health problems stated above. Global partnerships are needed to help finance these reproductive health services so these developing countries can focus on preventing these problems. We need to establish health centers similar to Planned Parenthood in these developing countries to help with their reproductive health services. Hopefully, these health centers can offer what Planned Parenthood does. Services like prenatal care, contraceptives, vaccines, HIV testing, gynecological exams and more. Eventually, these centers can hopefully offer services at a discounted rate just as Planned Parenthood does.