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.
Our Impact Areas
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.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
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.
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
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
PHOTO CREDIT: Robin Moore
Dominican Republic: Harnessing the Power of Primary Care for Mental Health Services
Mental health is an under-funded and under-resourced health area worldwide, which has caused a wide gap between the need for treatment and the provision of services, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
Lindsay Abrams's project aims to generate useful and timely evidence on how to build a comprehensive model to drive identification of and care for common mental health conditions within a community and primary care setting. Specifically, this pilot’s learning agenda will allow us to share important evidence around: 1) What are elements of a successful model for integrating mental health services into primary care clinics; 2) How virtual approaches can improve attitudes and beliefs around mental health and increase uptake of services; and 3) How social networks and mobile phone technology can support adherence to treatment plans and referral uptake.
In addition to increasing global knowledge around these three points, we intend to improve knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs around mental health among private and public healthcare providers and the target population; increase the number of primary care providers with knowledge and ability to screen, provide referrals, and follow-up for common mental health conditions; and improve referral to primary care facilities that integrate mental health services.
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.