29 January 2013

Liberia: Prioritize Women, Children's Health

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have been urged to prioritize women reproductive health and children malnutrition in the post 2015 development agenda.

Professor Gita Sen said the role of civil society organizations in mainstreaming gender and women issues are cardinal to the post 2015.

Prof. Gita Sen spoke Monday when he served as keynote speaker at the opening of the third High Level Panel (HLP) CSOs preparatory meeting on the post 2015 Development Agenda.

The two-day Monrovia meeting is part of consultations with CSOs jointly organized by the Africa-wide post 2015 working group and the Liberia CSO post 2015 working group, the United Nations Secretariat outreach desk, the UN Secretary General Secretariat and representatives from other southern CSOs networks.

Speaking on the topic: "National Building Blocks for Sustained Prosperity: Making Post-2015 Development Agenda Count for Vulnerable Groups", Prof. Sen said the issue of women's health, especially reproductive health is the center of human development.

"If you are healthy in your own body; if you are not able to address the question of sexual violence or rights to control your body, you don't control anything; that is how women are and I think the women and children of Liberia know that centrally and I also think that this is the time for women and children issues to be at the center," Prof. Sen added.

For her part, Gender and Development Minister Julia Duncan Cassell said it is important for more emphasis to be placed on prevention and the preparation of young women and girls for sexual and reproductive health through the establishment of health clubs in various schools and communities as well as access to basic health services.

Minister Cassell observed that inequality must be addressed globally because, according to her, it continues to exist in the world.

She said while consulting on the post 2015 development agenda, it was equally important to acknowledge the challenges that still persist in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including sexually and gender-based violence, access health care services, education, among others.

The objectives of the HLP outreach consultations with CSOs seek to share evidence from grassroots and CSO consultations with members of the HLP; frame, articulate and deliberate on a clear vision for the future that is informed by the needs and aspirations of ordinary people world-wide, agreed on key pillars of economic transformation, highlighting nation building blocks for sustained wealth for all.

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