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Girls and women
represent a majority of the world’s 700 million poorest people – defined as those living on less than $1.90 per day.

PHOTO CREDIT: Manprit Shergill

The path out of extreme poverty begins with health.

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.


    225 million

    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.

  • Non-Communicable Diseases

    18 million

    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.


    2.5 billion

    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.

  • Gender based violence

    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.

  • Hiv

    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.

  • Maternal and child health

    287,000 women

    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 believes that it’s time to reimagine healthcare.


It’s time to put more healthcare directly into the hands of consumers.

Achieving universal health coverage calls for innovative and sustainable solutions to some of development’s most vexing problems.

We’ll see greater health outcomes faster when we treat a beneficiary more like a consumer, when we engage her in program design and, wherever possible, when we bring care right to her front door.

And getting products and services to those who need it isn’t enough. We need to delight consumers with their choices and healthcare experiences.

What we’ve achieved to date


Mobilized $60 million in resources for girls and women


Helped more than 800,000 girls and women live healthier lives


Launched pilots in 15 countries