Applying Human Rights to Improve Access to Reproductive Health Services

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 119 (2012) S55-S59

5 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2013

See all articles by Dorothy Shaw

Dorothy Shaw

University of British Columbia (UBC), Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Universal access to reproductive health is a target of Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5B, and along with MDG 5A to reduce maternal mortality by three-quarters, progress is currently too slow for most countries to achieve these targets by 2015. Critical to success are increased and sustainable numbers of skilled healthcare workers and financing of essential medicines by governments, who have made political commitments in United Nations forums to renew their efforts to reduce maternal mortality. National essential medicine lists are not reflective of medicines available free or at cost in facilities or in the community. The WHO Essential Medicines List indicates medicines required for maternal and newborn health including the full range of contraceptives and emergency contraception, but there is no consistent monitoring of implementation of national lists through procurement and supply even for basic essential drugs. Health advocates are using human rights mechanisms to ensure governments honor their legal commitments to ensure access to services essential for reproductive health. Maternal mortality is recognized as a human rights violation by the United Nations and constitutional and human rights are being used, and could be used more effectively, to improve maternity services and to ensure access to drugs essential for reproductive health.

Keywords: Contraception, Emergency contraception, Essential medicines, Human rights, Maternal health, Misoprostol, Oxytocin, Postpartum hemorrhage, Reproductive health, Uterotonics, Universal access

JEL Classification: I12, I18

Suggested Citation

Shaw, Dorothy and Cook, Rebecca J., Applying Human Rights to Improve Access to Reproductive Health Services (2012). International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 119 (2012) S55-S59, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197487

Dorothy Shaw (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC), Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine ( email )

4500 Oak Street, #B242,
Vancouver, BC V6H 3N1.
Canada
604 875 3536; (Phone)
604 875 3456 (Fax)

Rebecca J. Cook

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park Cr.
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
416-978-4446 (Phone)
416-978-7899 (Fax)

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