PRINCIPAL AREAS OF CONCERN
I PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
1. Extend primary health care to all women throughout all stages of their life
cycles, including but not limited to motherhood, family planning and sexually
Expand primary health care services at the grassroots level by the year 2000,
with leadership in the hands of local women leaders sensitive to the needs of
3. Incorporate strong health education programs as part of primary care
without the intervention of commercial interests.
4. Provide job opportunities and training to support wise health decisions.
5. Ensure that surgery is performed only with informed consent based on full
understanding of the nature and possible negative results of the surgery and
of the skill of the surgeon.
6. Ensure informed consent before inclusion in experimentation.
7. Ensure access to and testing of alternative and traditional medicines and the
knowledge of indigenous peoples.
8. Eradicate discrimination against women with disabilities.
To that end we recommend the following actions:
9. Combat gender bias in access to immunization and curative services for
10. Establish day care centers and mother friendly work environments.
11. Ensure equal delivery of health services for girls in oral rehydration and
nutrition, including breastfeeding.
12. Disseminate information on major health risks to planners and funders of
13. Target screening efforts to high-risk groups.
14. Coordinate women's health services with other services and programs such
as potable water, environmental protection, and occupational safety.
15. Create and support regional centers for diagnosis and/or treatment of
16. Make information available on the training, skill, and professional history of
all medical practitioners.
17. Develop detoxification and rehabilitation programs that meet the specific
needs of female addicts and substance abusers and make them affordable and
accessible to women of all ages and backgrounds.
18. Develop appropriate health systems for crisis care.
19. Ensure access to health clinics and hospitals for women with disabilities.
II EDUCATION FOR HEALTH
20. Expand public awareness of good health behaviors.
21. Promote educational opportunities for girls to increase their options in later life.
22. Support training programs that help develop women's leadership in health
care policy and promotion.
23. Ensure school attendance for the girl: literacy is a major factor in improving
health status, particularly for women and girls.
24. Educate women and girls on (1) hygiene; (2) the importance of screening and
identification of symptoms for early detection and treatment of disease; (3)
reproductive physiology and sexual health; (4) safe use of drugs such as
antidepressants and tranquilizers.
25. Promote breast feeding to enable women to have birth intervals of at least
30 months and as a family planning method.
26. Educate women on the benefits of breastfeeding in reducing the risk of breast
and ovarian cancer.
27. Provide information on exercise and nutrition.
28. Involve women's groups in education for the promotion of good health.
29. Provide sex education starting at an appropriate age (before sexual activity
is initiated) in a manner suitable for women of varying regions and cultures
taught in their own language, including discussion of abuses and the
fundamentals of birth control and reproductive health.
30. Publicize the adverse health effects of smoking and alcohol abuse.
III EDUCATION FOR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
31. Reorient training of health care providers to place health in the broader
context of human rights, particularly with respect to the gender context of
women's unequal status and from women's perspectives of their needs and
32. Encourage the integration of traditional and Western health procedures and
medicines for optimal health in indigenous communities.
33. Require medical school curricula to recognize human rights and socio- economic factors, and the diversity of local health value systems which
negatively affects health.
34. Train and educate health care workers in the treatment of women's health:
emphasize the importance of screening, identification of symptoms, and
35. Train health workers to recognize conditions related to the stages of
women's life cycle.
36. Establish community programs to train health care workers, local residents
and law enforcement officers to recognize and respond appropriately to signs
of physical and mental violence against women and girls.
37. Provide training programs for health personnel regarding the specific needs
of women and girls with disabilities.
38. Require continuing education for already certified professionals in new
developments in the fields of nutrition and disease preventions.
39. Ensure that all health information is free of commercial bias.
IV NEGATIVE CULTURAL PRACTICES AFFECTING THE HEALTH OF WOMEN AND GIRLS
Since negative cultural practices are a manifestation of ideals and misinformation, there is a need for a new approach and a concerted effort to eliminate them.
40. Eliminate all forms of negative cultural practices by the year 2010,
including but not limited to marriage before maturity, insufficient diet
during pregnancy, female infanticide, dowry deaths, negative cults of beauty,
hymen fixation, widows being obliged to marry their brothers-in-law, suttee,
41. Eradicate female genital mutilation by the year 2000, of all girls subject to
it and born in 1994 and thereafter.
42. Develop policies and programs that will result by the year 2000 in a 70% risk
reduction among girls born in 1993 and before, who might be subject to
female genital mutilation between the ages of two and the onset of puberty,
and/or at later life cycles depending on the custom of populations practicing
female genital mutilation.
43. Educate communities about the health consequences of negative cultural
practices such as female genital mutilation.
V ENVIRONMENT AND WOMEN'S HEALTH
44. Assure safe water supply.
45. Allocate all necessary resources for the provision of potable water for all
46. Promote sustainable agriculture to provide adequate nutrition and limit
47. Research and monitor the specific effects of deforestation and the use of
pesticides and fertilizers on women, and develop policies and programs to
lessen these effects.
48. End dumping of waste by industrialized countries in developing countries.
49. Regulate waste disposal to reduce reproductive and other health risks.
50. Legislate management of toxic waste.
51. Promote research into the effects of environmental toxins, particularly on
the immune system.
52. Examine the effect of pesticides on pregnant women and fetuses in relation
to birth defects, cancer and immune disease.
VI NUTRITION AND WOMEN / GIRLS' HEALTH NUTRITION
53. Provide adequate nutrition for females of all ages taking into consideration
the special nutritional needs of each stage of life.
54. Eliminate deficiencies of vitamin A, iodine, calcium, and iron among women.
55. Coordinate nutrition programs wherever possible with other health services
and other health education programs in keeping with the nutritional and
health goals outlined in the Plan of Action from the International Conference
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
56. Promote the development and use of safe technologies.
57. Ensure and monitor safe and healthy working conditions in factories, fields,
and offices for both men and women.
58. Ensure that the definition of safe working conditions is not used as grounds
for discriminatory firings or failure to hire women.
59. Set up programs to detect and manage occupational toxins.
60. Train health care workers to recognize symptoms of occupational illness.
61. Enact and enforce laws prohibiting child labor.
62. Report on health disorders and wasting diseases, particularly among rural
VIII REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
63. Require providers to coordinate and integrate wherever possible reproductive
health with other health services, maternal and child health and family
64. Support family planning clinics to provide infertility services as well as
services for reproductive tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
b. Family Planning and Maternal and Child Health
65. Promote community support in dealing with obstetric emergencies requiring
transportation, communication, and blood donation.
66. Provide access for all women to prenatal care, trained attendants during
childbirth, and referral for high-risk pregnancies and obstetric emergencies.
67. Apply treatment guidelines/protocols for the management of maternal
68. Support breastfeeding and family planning services.
69. Enact and enforce legislation for paid maternity leave of at least three
70. Promote, protect and support breastfeeding and integrate it into health
education and services.
71. Integrate abortion-related care into Safe Motherhood strategies.
72. Train medical staff in the use of manual vacuum aspiration (MA).
73. Conduct birth-spacing and family-planning programs with sensitivity to
local values and prohibitions.
74. Ensure ready access to family planning services, humane treatment of
abortion complications, and safe abortion services.
75. Increase availability of all family planning methods, temporary and
permanent, commodity based and natural.
76. Train health care workers in management of complications resulting from
77. Educate and provide information to communities regarding causes and
treatment of infertility.
c. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
78. Establish "well-women clinics" offering comprehensive reproductive health
services to help avoid the stigmatization of STD clinics.
Ensure access to testing and treatment services for Sexually Transmitted
Diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS and Reproductive track Infections (RTIs), condoms
and other preventive methods and education about their use to the public at
80. Educate women on preventive behavior and recognition of signs of STDs,
including HIV and RTIs.
81. Train health workers in detection and treatment of STDs/RTIs.
82. Educate communities on the dangers of negative traditional practices that
put them at risk of contracting and spreading STDs, HIV and RTIs.
83. Develop community guidelines for education and counseling about STDs, HIV
and RTIs; involve all health and community leaders, including traditional
birth attendants and traditional healers.
84. Screen clients for risk factors and infections before giving contraceptives.
85. Encourage governments to commit resources to education, prevention, care,
treatment and research in HIV/AIDS.
86. Screen all blood for all infectious diseases.
87. Eliminate discrimination and prejudice against aging women.
88. Recognize the older woman's role in child care, and in maintaining and
transmitting the cultural history and wisdom of the community.
89. Develop measures to prevent falls and teach protection against criminal
90. Examine the following variables and their relationship to older women's
health: life stress, workload levels, nutrition, repeated pregnancies,
sanitation, housing and health care.
91. Integrate into governmental and social planning the particular requirements
of the very old who in many societies are the fastest growing segment of the
92. Insure care and screening of aging women in special medical aspects of that
stage in the life cycle and train health workers to recognize conditions
related to aging women.
93. Strengthen social support systems for aging women in all health services.
94. Provide facilities for care of aging women.
X REFUGEES AND DISPLACED PERSONS
95. Recognize that the international community has the responsibility to protect
and assist refugees and displaced persons.
96. Recognize that health problems (including rape and malnutrition) of refugee
and displaced women require special attention.
97. Develop facilities to treat new and pre-existing illnesses and handicaps in
order to alleviate additional suffering and allow refugees and displaced
persons to care for their families.
98. Develop and support health delivery systems appropriate to the needs of
refugees and displaced persons.
XI INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS
99. Recognize and acknowledge indigenous women's primary role in traditional
health care and involve them in treatment processes.
100. Consult indigenous women in the development and implementation of health
programs affecting them.
101. Train indigenous women as health care practitioners.
102. Utilize traditional practices of health care where appropriate, in
conjunction with Western health procedures for optimal health in indigenous
103. Develop and support health delivery systems appropriate to the needs of
XII HUMAN RIGHTS OF WOMEN
104. Recognize health as a human right.
105. Recognize that women's health is a necessary precondition to full
enjoyment of human rights.
106. Recognize Safe Motherhood as a human rights issue.
107. Empower girls from a young age to understand their rights, including
education, health, political participation, and to promote and demand their
108. Support women's reproductive rights, including access to safe abortion and
the right to refuse coercive methods (e.g. forced sterilization).
109. Provide information, education, and the means for women to exercise their
right to decide freely and responsibly on the number of children they choose
110. Uphold women's right to health at all stages of their lives, providing access
to effective preventive, diagnostic and curative care regardless of their
111. Outlaw the use of sterilization and abortion against nationalities and
minorities as a means of political control.
112. Support women's right to breastfeed and to space the births of their
XIII VIOLENCE AND WOMEN'S HEALTH
113. Recognize women's right to be free of violence.
114. Enact, enforce and monitor laws prohibiting all forms of violence (physical,
sexual and psychological) against women and children, with a special focus
on girls as declared in the convention on the elimination on all forms of
discrimination against women, CEDAW and the Convention on the Rights of
115. Promote public awareness of the extent and nature of violence against
women and girls in a given society, and women's right to be protected from
116. Punish perpetrators of deliberate acts against girls: infanticide,
sterilization and abortion when used against nationalities and minorities.
117. Link legal systems and women's groups for support and counseling.
118. Establish culturally-appropriate systems to shelter and support women in
abusive situations and to protect them from further violence.
119. Recognize the part mass communications play in creating our perception of
health and well-being.
120. Promote greater coverage of women's health issues in the media.
121. Use new technologies to disseminate information about women's health.
122. Create public awareness that violence against women is frequently used for
entertainment in the media and advocate change in this area.
123. Monitor gender stereotyping to ensure positive depiction of women of all
ages including pregnant and breastfeeding women.
124. Eliminate negative cults of beauty emphasizing unrealistic body images
which affect women's health through increased rates of anemia, iron
deficiency, low birth weight, long-term nutritional depletion and
unnecessary cosmetic operations.
125. Develop advertising codes that limit advertising of tobacco and other
substances that are known to be health hazards.
126. Encourage the media to cover women's health issues.
127. Use traditional folk media to reach people and elicit feedback.
XV MENTAL HEALTH
128. Address causes of mental stress: social discrimination and low status,
workload, marital problems, substance abuse, violence, etc. as they affect on
129. Remove the stigma against persons with mental health problems.
130. Establish crisis centers to deal with the psychological effects that violence
and the social and cultural environment have on women.
131. Establish and promote women's support groups.
132. Improve existing services by allocating adequate resources for the
recruitment and training of staff and the decentralization of treatment
133. Develop and promote alternatives to the masculine, Western psychiatric
framework unfamiliar to women in non-Western countries.
134. Train mental health providers in crisis management and post traumatic
XVI RESEARCH AND STATISTICS
To be conducted by the UN, national governments and private funders.
135. Ensure gender equity in medical research
136. Ensure gender disaggregated research.
137. Develop data bank on morbidity and causes of mortality in women globally.
138. Support research on the relationship of morbidity and health risks to
women's productivity with the gross national product.
139. Support research and development of lower-cost and accessible treatment
140. Adopt systematic methods for reporting maternal deaths.
141. Discourage the use of women as guinea pigs for experimentation without
proper safeguards or information.
142. Gather data for studies in nutrition and healing aids. (These projects should
be conducted with due regard for the concerns of the local population and
should be published in lay language.)
143. Insure that clinical trials are run with the informed consent of those
involved as subjects.
144. Develop inexpensive and accessible diagnostic tests for cervical and breast cancer.
145. Support research on the relationship between women's rights and women's
146. Develop appropriate gender-specific indicators to examine the health status
147. Include women and women's groups in establishing areas of research and
148. Promote women's participation in the dialogue and formulation of bioethical
principles and policies at local, national and international levels.
149. Support UNESCO International Bioethics Commission in drawing up
instruments on the human genome.
150. Guarantee that women receive all available relevant information, including
information on the advantages and disadvantages, chance of success, possible
future effects for self, child and others, before procreative procedures or
other medical interventions are used.
151. Create ethical codes for the application of genetics that protect the human
rights of women.
152. Educate scientists and other health care providers to consider the social
impact of their work, particularly as it affects women and children.
153. Develop oversight procedures to curtail potential abuses in medical
practices directly involving women and children.
154. Devise processes for ensuring the accountability of scientists and health
care providers for the interests of those affected by their work.
C. PRINCIPAL AGENTS FOR CHANGE
I NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS
155. Develop a national policy on women's health in all countries in consultation
with women and NGO's.
156. Express commitment and political will to support programs that address
key women's health issues.
157. Ensure representation of women's organizations on all boards and policy
making bodies and committees at all governmental levels.
158. Reinforce the relationship of women's health in all sectors to the economic
development of the country.
159. Provide primary health services to all communities.
160. Develop statistics and data analyses to assess the health needs of women in
order to allocate resources for women's health.
161. Integrate women's health services in primary care to avoid duplication and
uneven distribution of health services.
162. Determine the effect of cash and non-cash work of women on their
mortality and morbidity.
163. Allocate a certain percentage of GNP to the development of health services
164. Involve men in health education and disease prevention as well as other
levels of health decisions.
165. Prohibit advertising of tobacco and other products and practices harmful to
166. Create and enforce legislation prohibiting the practice of female genital
mutilation and other harmful cultural practices.
167. Develop national screening programs, for example to discover cervical,
breast and uterine carcinomas.
168. Ensure adequate equipment and supplies for preventive, diagnostic and
169. Support existing UN conventions relevant to women's health and human
rights like ICN, WSC, ICPD etc.
170. Develop adequate health care for refugees, migrants and indigenous peoples.
171. Repeal restrictions that limit women's access to reproductive health care
services on the basis of age, income, race or geography.
172. Foster research on and treatment of diseases and conditions that primarily
afflict women and girls.
173. Provide Women and girls with full access to medical advances that benefit
their lives and health.
174. Provide adequate financing to ensure education, health prevention and
promotion as well as primary health services.
II UNITED NATIONS SYSTEM
175. Reduce the duplication and fragmentation of health services in order to
provide better health care and easier access to services.
176. Create central leadership in the UN to direct women's health services.
177. Require, fund, administer and publish gender impact statements for
programs and policies beginning in 1996.
178. Devise, fund and implement monitoring instruments that will augment and
oversee government machinery for gender responsiveness in planning and
179. Develop national report indicators that include both social and economic
factors related to health.
180. Produce parallel audits and reports on the implementation of the 1995
Plan of Action in the years 2000, 2005, 2010.
181. Gather additional statistics and disseminate finding with respect to: (1)
life expectancy for females at ages 5, 20, and 40; and (2) chronic and
contagious wasting diseases and conditions with a special category for
182. Include in national reports analyses of the value of women's cash and non- cash work and its relationship to women's health.
183. Promote and protect women's rights and prohibit violence to their persons.
184. Adopt and enforce legislation to ban the dumping of out-dated products,
harmful pesticides and medical devices in third world markets.
185. Distribute a list standard approved essential drugs as a basis for drug
procurement by the public and private sectors.
186. Increase the participation of NGO women's groups in deliberations on health
187. Integrate women's health goals throughout the UN conferences at Cairo,
Copenhagen and Beijing.
188. Increase assistance to health programs focusing on the health of women and
189. Increase assistance to programs for training more female health workers.
190. Develop and enforce guidelines for the safe disposal of both military and
non-military nuclear wastes and of biological and chemical wastes.
III NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS
191. Stress the multisectoral aspects of health in society.
192. Recognize the value of women's work both cash and non-cash, particularly in
agricultural communities in child care, elder care, traditional health care
193. Inform UN agencies, national governments, foundations and other donors of
the importance of women's health to the Gross National Product.
194. Identify major health needs of women and promote research and delivery of
services in this area.
195. Develop grass roots programs that will expand health education and
services for women empowering them to make informed decisions on for
196. Include social services with grassroots participation as essential
components of women's health care.
197. Devise systems for monitoring health services and medical research and
198. Provide women' health projects with long-term institutional and project
199. Coordinate health care wherever possible with other programs and services.
200. Advocate and lobby for women centered health policies.
201. Counter advertising which has a negative effect on women's health.
202. Work closely together to support, implement and monitor health programs,
both governmental and non-governmental.
203. Insist that literature concerning drug use be made available in the
language(s) of the country.
204. Attempt to integrate breastfeeding into action plans concerning family
205. Support women's traditional health knowledge.
206. Encourage establishment of a safe environment for breastfeeding
IV. DONORS: CORPORATIONS, FOUNDATIONS, INDIVIDUALS
207. Recognize the importance of women's health to economic development.
208. Establish priorities for support which are gender-free and culturally
209. Coordinate program development with other health delivery systems.
210. Support health research which goes beyond medical research to include both
economic and social factors.
V MEN COLLABORATING / SHARING
211. Collaborate in the prevention of STDs and HIV by taking an active role in
212. Promote and fund greater condom use.
213. Assume active role and responsibility in promoting and funding women's
reproductive rights and access to a full range of health services and
214. Create and support programs to reduce violence against women and to
support their rights as human beings.
215. Champion the development and support of health programs for women and