Monthly Archives: December 2015

Why women’s health is a vital part of global human rights

Mothers

Mothers in Ghana
(Image courtesy of Gesu Antonio Baez for ISUOG Outreach – Ghana)


10 December was Human Rights Day. When Hillary Clinton made the statement, “Women’s rights are Human Rights” during the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing, it rocked global consciousness in recognising women’s rights as an integral part of human rights. But what about women’s health?  Is it a part of human rights and how does ISUOG defend this? ISUOG’s International Development Officer, Gesù Antonio Báez, explores this topic further.

 

It would be foolish to believe that women’s health didn’t play a crucial role in global women’s rights or human rights in general. Yet somehow, despite the numerous international conventions and covenants that have been championed by the UN and its global partners, women’s health has been pushed as merely a topic for development and humanitarian endeavours, as clearly demonstrated with the now defunct Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and newly initiated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) this past September.

Of course, this is not to belittle its category as an important item on the developmental agenda; in fact, it’s paramount to it! But women’s health amounts to so much more than as a single task to accomplish in a nation’s pursuit towards overall development. Because truth be told, women’s health – particularly their right to quality healthcare – is vital not just for global development, but crucial in the fight to defend women’s rights. For if women are the backbone to society and essential for a country’s empowerment, then denying them adequate healthcare is both a violation of their human rights and a denial for a country in achieving its true potential in global development.  Human rights are, first and foremost, a matter of preserving dignity and guaranteeing women access to competent doctors and health services is a task in which all nations and key human rights agents must be willing to invest upon in order to properly demonstrate their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted by the international community exactly 68 years ago on 10 December 1947.

As an agent for women’s health, ISUOG’s mission is to ensure that every woman has access to competent ultrasound scanning and that OB/GYN conditions are effectively diagnosed because it is a women’s right – her human right – to receive proper treatment and care.

Either via an ISUOG Approved Course in Nigeria, a World Congress in Rome, an International Symposium in India, or an Outreach program in Papua New Guinea,  ISUOG strives to ensure this sacred right is respected and honoured by empowering OB/GYN professionals with the necessary skills needed to conduct a proper scan with quality educational resources, no matter where in the world they are located because the key to ISUOG’s mission is every woman.

Women’s rights are human rights as Hillary Clinton said nearly twenty years ago in Beijing, but women’s health is a fundamental part of this because it honours the women’s right to live. Through ISUOG’s mission and role in the important task of upholding this right, I believe we are on the way towards making an overall respect for this right completely universal.

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Having your say….ISUOG Outreach during the World Congress

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Outreach Chair Dr. Anthony (Tony) Johnson and Outreach Committee member, Prof. John Hyett brainstorming during the Outreach Workshop (Image courtesy of Erika Rosenbaum)

Opinions count and voices matter; it’s taking into consideration the views of others that help make an international organisation dynamic. With ISUOG Outreach growing, it was time to hear from our most important audience on  the future of Outreach- you!

This year’s theme for the Outreach Workshop during the 25th World Congress in Montréal was ‘Have your say!’. A passionate and dynamic group gathered as ISUOG’s International Development Officer, Gesù Antonio Báez, introduced the concept to them, with an emphasis on how their views and opinions mattered in this session. “We want to hear from you,” he said, “so tell us where you think we should go”.

GAB_talking

International Development Officer, Gesu Antonio Baez, going over the plan for the workshop (Image courtesy of Erika Rosenbaum)

The audience was broken into four groups occupying four hub spaces, with each tackling a topic for discussion to see where ISUOG Outreach could expand and improve. The 2015 Ian Donald Gold Medal Winner, Torvid Kiserud (Norway) and Titia Cohen-Overbeek (the Netherlands) led discussions on how to make the most of our partnerships and identifying “friends in the right places” in order to increase impact and promote a sustainable output for projects. Alfred Abuhamad (USA) and Ann Tabor (Denmark) instead brainstormed with their group on developing an ideal template for basic training in an outreach program, while Helen Feltovitch (USA) and Sturla Eik-Nes (Norway) delved further with their group on trying to find out what role ISUOG had with technology in low resource settings.

An interesting concept out of all the groups was the “mind mapping” session. Led by Outreach Chair Tony Johnson (USA) and John Hyett (Australia), the group was engaged in trying to map out on a large whiteboard the clinical pathways that needed to be identified before an Outreach program took place.

MindMapping_1

Outreach Chair Dr. Tony Johnson (USA) standing with ISUOG’s Education Development Manager, Megan Chard, as they work on the MindMap with the group (Image courtesy of Erika Rosenbaum)

“It felt engaging and I was very motivated by the workshop because it made us feel part of the process.,” said one attendee, “. I’ll totally attend another one!”

The key to ISUOG’s success is teamwork; from the discussions of the Outreach committee to the work of our volunteers on the field, team effort is essential to ISUOG Outreach and therefore it was only natural to work as one in order to generate and develop ideas for taking the program to the next phase. Outreach is growing and still has a long way to go, but together with our supporters, we can achieve our goals and fulfil our mission in improving women’s health.

Teamwork!

Teamwork! Group 1 brainstorming around the mind map (Image courtesy of Erika Rosenbaum)