PHOTO CREDIT: Manprit Shergill
When girls and women are healthy, they are able to go to school, find a job, and spend most of their income on their families.
We consulted global experts, including PSI's technical teams, to identify six key health areas that offer the greatest return on investment for transforming the lives of girls and women in the developing world. Investing in these areas will help achieve several of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
women in developing countries who want contraceptives do not have access to them.
When women and adolescent girls have access to family planning, they have higher levels of education, their children are healthier, and their families are wealthier. Women are prevented from planning the families they desire due to many factors including lack of access to contraceptives due to a lack of products, under-resourced public health systems, and lack of trained medical providers.
women die from non-communicable diseases every year.
Non-communicable diseases - which include cancers, heart disease, and diabetes - represent the biggest threat to women’s health worldwide, increasingly impacting on women in developing countries in their most productive years. For example, women in developing countries account for 85% of all cases of cervical cancer globally. No longer diseases of the rich and elderly, NCDs affect the health of women and girls and also the health and life chances of their children.
people do not have access to basic sanitation.
Improved sanitation would make 1.25 billion women’s lives safer and healthier worldwide, and significantly reduce their risk of suffering violence. Many girls and women do not have access to a toilet that is safe, private, and prevents the spread of disease – putting them at risk of shame, disease, and attack while defecating in the open. Every day, 2,000 children die from diarrheal diseases, almost all of which are preventable and stem from contaminated water, lack of sanitation, or inadequate hygiene.
1 in 3 women
globally will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a pervasive global health and human rights problem that affects every society in the world, devastates lives, fractures communities, and impedes a country’s social and economic progress. In many parts of the world, over half the female population has experienced physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of her partner, alongside equal numbers of women enduring relationships rife with psychological and emotional abuse. Gender inequality and negative gender norms remain the root cause of gender-based violence across the world, meaning true prevention of GBV will take the transformation of attitudes and broader community norms, as well as the engagement of key community leaders and organizations who can incite change.
2 in 3 young people
living with HIV globally are women
HIV/AIDS-related illnesses are the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age globally, and almost 60% of all new HIV infections in young people occur among adolescent girls and young women. Many obstacles prevent adolescent girls from protecting themselves against HIV, including limited access to health care and education, gender‐based violence, and systems and policies that do not address their specific health and social needs.
die every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications – one every two minutes.
Complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls ages 15-19 in developing countries (excluding China and Southeast Asia), and their babies are 50% less likely to survive than older mothers. Pregnant women and girls often do not have access to regular, quaiity antenatal care and a skilled birthing attendant putting their lives and the lives of their newborn at risk.
PSI is a nonprofit that takes a business approach to saving lives.
PSI breaks with the traditional development model by using proven business practices like marketing and franchising, by helping build strong health systems in the private and public sector, by tapping into the expertise of 8,900 local staff in more than 65 countries around the world, and by measuring impact.
Developing cutting-edge communications using traditional and emerging technologies to motivate people to adopt healthy behaviors.
Getting the right products and services to girls and women is the first step to helping them live healthy lives; equally important is making sure they are in a supportive environment that encourages consistent and correct use. In global health and development, social and behavior change communications (SBCC) is the act of motivating people to adopt healthier behaviors, such as using a condom or washing their hands with soap. From television and radio to print and social media to one-on-one outreach in communities, PSI connects with people where they are in compelling and culturally appropriate ways.
Using market analysis and consumer insights to make health products and services affordable, accessible and appealing.
Better health is out of reach for the majority of the world’s poorest girls and women because health products and services are inaccessible – often due to unaffordable prices and limited distribution. PSI uses a human-centered approach to understand what motivates someone to adopt a health solution, and then we get the product or service to them in a way they understand, at a price they can afford and in a place that is convenient.
Taking a page on franchising from the corporate playbook by establishing networks of branded health centers that bring affordable, reliable and high quality services to millions.
Just like the franchising of restaurants or retail outlets, but for social good, PSI’s social franchises apply commercial franchising strategies to improve health in developing countries. When you mail a package at a UPS store – in Washington state or Washington, DC – you expect quality service and consistent pricing from a reliable shipper. PSI’s social franchises operate the same way for customers seeking affordable, reliable health services and products.
Integrating all segments of the market to make health products and services work harder and smarter to meet the needs of girls and women where they live.
Market development addresses the components of the market – from the manufacturer, to the distributor, to the local seller or supplier – to evaluate necessary changes to ensure girls and women can obtain and use the health products and services they need without suffering financial hardship. This "total market" approach keeps tabs on how markets are working or failing, also addressing the underlying causes of success of failure. Interventions that make markets work for girls and women need to be flexible, highly nuanced and catalytic.
Mobilized $30 million in resources for girls and women
Helped more than 300,000 girls and women live healthier lives
Launched pilot projects in 13 countries
Wajood: A Partnership To Tackle Gender-based Violence
Following one of India’s most recent, horrific and high-profile incidents of violence against women — the brutal rape and torture of Jyoti Singh on a New Delhi bus — Indrani Goradia joined forces with PSI India to test a novel approach to preventing gender-based violence and supporting survivors. The approach brings together local organizations, engages boys and men, and connects community leaders and policymakers in a coordinated response.
Two years after the start of the project, PSI, Indrani and USAID India formed a partnership to scale the program to additional geographies. The program is now a $10 million investment, the largest and most far-reaching gender-based violence program of its kind in India. The USAID partnership will expand program activities, reach more girls and women, and amplify its impact in preventing and addressing violence across India.
Adolescents 360: Putting Girls At The Center Of The Design Process
In Tanzania, Pam Scott is working with PSI’s local staff and a team of design thinkers to better understand unintended teen pregnancy from the girl’s perspective. They’ve partnered with teen girls and are using human-centered approaches to develop and test solutions that give girls access to the contraceptive services they need and want.
The design approach piloted in this project influenced a PSI-led $30 million initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation called Adolescents 360 (A360). A360 seeks to increase contraceptive use among hundreds of thousands of adolescent girls in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria. Pam’s vision and passion for human-centered design helped best position PSI to lead A360, and she continues to work to mainstream design thinking within the organization as a means to address complex challenges and build better programs that help girls and women thrive.
Sampoorna: A New Public Sector Approach To Combat Cervical Cancer
Kathryn Vizas partnered with PSI India to pilot a new approach to screen and, if necessary, treat women for cervical cancer during a single visit to local private health clinics in three districts of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. PSI trained doctors to provide routine cervical cancer screening and treatment for women using safe and cost-effective tools: a simple swab of vinegar on the cervix with visual inspection by a trained medical provider, and treatment by freezing the pre-cancerous cells.
Impressed with the model in the private sector, the Government of Uttar Pradesh stepped in and invested more than $600,000 to scale up the approach in public health facilities in 28 districts, with the eventual goal to cover all 75 districts in a state of 200 million people. This low-cost intervention has the potential to reach millions more women. Uttar Pradesh’s top health official highlighted the project as one of the Best Practices of the Government of India for 2015-2016.
PHOTO CREDIT: Robin Moore