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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 115-116

Advocating for the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights of Women

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication28-Jun-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram 603108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_28_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Advocating for the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights of Women. MAMC J Med Sci 2017;3:115-6

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Advocating for the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Human Rights of Women. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2020 Jul 9];3:115-6. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2017/3/2/115/209022

Dear Editor,

For many decades, health stakeholders have envisaged for the need that women should be able to decide about their health and other parameters which affect it, including their sexual and reproductive health.[1],[2] This is not only because women are a very important part of the society, but also due to the fact that any alterations in their life can simultaneously influence the lives of many people associated with them.[1],[2] Further, by empowering women to make decisions pertaining to their own bodies or their surroundings, it will pay rich dividends for their health and their future lives.[3]

It is not at all wrong that the issue of maintenance of sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and girls is facing massive challenges, as a significant shortage in the financial support, which is compromising the lives of not only these women, but even their families and the communities.[2],[3] In addition, it has been found that by investing in contraception, a large number of lives can be saved, which directly plays a role in moving forward towards gender equality and growth of a nation.[1] In fact, by ensuring the availability of contraceptive methods to women or standardized childbirth or neonatal care, almost 70% of unwanted pregnancies and two-thirds of maternal and neonatal deaths can be averted as compared to the 2014 estimates.[1]

Furthermore, if a woman can decide the total number of children in the family or their spacing, indirectly it gives more time for her to take her own care or rear the existing children in a better way.[1],[2],[3] Similarly, if a girl can decide to get her vaccinated with the human papilloma virus vaccine, the future risk of development of cervical cancer and associated complications can be minimized.[1] In addition, it has been estimated that with an every increase of 1 year of schooling for a girl child, it proportionately enhances her earnings by 10–20%.[1]

It is an absolute fact that if women want to control their lives, they should be allowed to actively participate in the formulation of schemes that affects them.[1],[3] It is a serious cause of concern that though people talk about gender equality, but the same is not communicated through the existing policies or the prevailing harmful gender norms.[1],[2] Indeed, it is a reality that without socio-economic and the political participation of women, improvement in the health outcomes for women and children can never be accomplished.[2] However, despite this, <23% of the parliamentarians across the world are women and that in itself exposes the lack of participation of women in the policy making.[1]

In the last few decades, a significant development has been observed in the overall domain of women’s health, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights.[1] Nevertheless, the need of the hour is to progress ahead, and not regress back, and, thus, all concerned personnel/agencies should reaffirm their commitment towards gender equality.[1] In fact, the World Health Organization has developed a toolkit for the strengthening of the gender-sensitive national HIV and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) monitoring and evaluation services in heterogeneous settings.[4]

To conclude, it is the responsibility of the health stakeholders to ensure that women across the globe are competent to make decisions about their bodies and their surroundings, which can affect their health or future lives.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bustreo F. She Decides on Her Health, Her Future; 2017. Available from: http://who.int/mediacentre/commentaries/2017/she-decides-health/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 14].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Working together to accomplish gender equality in health: World Health Organization. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:286-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
  [Full text]  
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Implementing universal minimal standards to counter the challenge of gender-based violence in emergencies. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2016;9:289-90.  Back to cited text no. 3
  [Full text]  
WHO, UNAIDS. A Tool for Strengthening Gender-Sensitive National HIV and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Monitoring and Evaluation Systems. Geneva: WHO Press; 2016. p. 1-27.  Back to cited text no. 4


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