“The right to safe and legal abortion is under pressure around the world. We need to make sure the clock is not being turned back.” With these words MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld opened the webinar held on the international day for safe abortion. The webinar launched the new European Abortion policies Atlas. The Atlas compares European countries in women’s access to abortion. Belgium figures in the European top 10 but lags the UK, Scandinavia and neighbouring France and the Netherlands. The obligatory waiting period in Belgium could be shortened and Belgium could do better in tackling disinformation about abortion.
Gains made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV could be reversed, with new HIV infections among children up by as much as 162% and setting the clock on AIDS-related deaths back to 2008, a modelling group convened by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS estimated. If no efforts are made to mitigate and overcome interruptions in health services and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, a six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy could lead to more than 500,000 extra deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020–2021.
UNFPA launched the State of the World Population 2019 in Brussels, May 7th, entitled ‘Unfinished Business. The pursuit of rights and choices for all’. Marking the 25th anniversary of the ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) as well as the 50th birthday of UNFPA itself, the report highlights the progress made, and the challenges ahead.
Belgium’s Directorate General for Development (DGD) Deputy Director Guy Rayée opened the launch, reminding everyone about the milestone the Cairo Programme of Action was. Tremendous progress has been made since, particular for women and their access to family planning.
At the 2018 Partners’ Forum in New Delhi in December, the stakeholders of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) concluded with new commitments to address ongoing challenges with regard to the health of mothers, newborns and children worldwide. Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s announced a US$ 100 billion investment in health services by 2025.
A delegation of six MPs, including Belgian senator and member of Flemish parliament Orry Van de Wauwer, member of the Belgian ‘Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda’, participated in the PMNCH Forum. The PMNCH is an alliance of more than 1000 organisations in 192 countries of the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health communities.
The delegation’s visit began with a site visit to the Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Hospital and Maternal Health Clinic, where the MPs shared good practices on improving maternal and child health in their respective countries. MPs also participated in a concurrent session on the role of parliamentarians in ensuring accountability for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ Health and the case of Universal health Coverage.