International Women’s Day 2023: Embracing innovation and technology for equity and #HealthForAll
This year, for International Women’s Day (IWD) and beyond, let’s all fully #EmbraceEquity. As the United Nations Observance of IWD recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education, the WHO Foundation continues to support WHO’s work to improve the health of women through digital innovation, technology, and education, to reach #HealthForAll.
According to the UN, every day, 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 99% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
We have witnessed formidable healthcare progress over the last century. Yet, women are still facing wide gaps in research and treatment ability for areas that are unique to them, such as maternal and menstrual health, as well as for conditions that present differently in women than men. It can result in major health issues and disparities, even in preventable treatments. The CDC, for example, states that 4 out of 5 pregnancy-related deaths in the US are preventable and black women are nearly 3 times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women.
In line with WHO’s Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020-2025, we believe in the role of digital innovation, technology, and education in improving health outcomes for women and girls, especially those who experience compounding barriers to health and wellbeing. WHO promotes healthy lives and wellbeing for everyone, everywhere, at all ages.
At the WHO Foundation, we cultivate philanthropic and private sector partners to help power solutions for critical global health areas, including digital health. In close collaboration with WHO, our Foundation is developing approaches that enable WHO and its implementing partners to achieve greater innovation, scale, and impact in its new frontiers of work, which break free of disease-specific projects.
What does embracing equity mean to us at the WHO Foundation? On International Women’s Day, we take a moment to recognize the importance of gender equity for women’s health and well-being.
In order to reduce healthcare disparities and provide equitable healthcare solutions, the WHO Foundation launched the US$ 200 million Global Health Equity Fund (GHEF) in partnership with OurCrowd. The GHEF aims to identify and scale breakthrough technology solutions that enable global health for all, focusing on opportunity regions with unmet healthcare needs across Africa, Latin America, and Asia, many of which experience less equitable healthcare outcomes for women and girls.
To ensure access to these technologies, the GHEF created an Access Pledge, which invites healthcare businesses to commit to providing their innovative technologies in opportunity regions that are in need but would not typically be within their scope of interest.
The GHEF targets technologies related to medical care and those that mitigate health risks, including solutions that address non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, and maternal and neonatal care. While the fund focuses on measuring broader impact outcomes such as the number of patients served and reduction in healthcare costs, it is also committed to monitoring, evaluating, and learning about its gender impact.
The GHEF targets technologies related to medical care and those that mitigate health risks, including solutions that address non-communicable diseases, infectious diseases, and maternal and neonatal care. While the fund aims to measure broader impact outcomes such as the number of patients served and reduction in healthcare costs, it recognizes that women and girls face unique challenges in terms of health outcomes. As such, the GHEF is committed to monitor, evaluate, and learn about the gender impact of its investments and how they are addressing gender inequities in health.
“The inclusion of women in everything from making investment decisions to running businesses and sitting on boards reduces risk, brings better governance, increases the valuation of businesses, and increases the quality of products and services that are delivered.” – Chief Impact Investment Officer, Geetha Tharmaratnam
The WHO Foundation continues to harness the power of partnerships and works to mobilize resources to advance the mission of WHO, to help build a healthier world for all. To get involved and partner with the WHO Foundation, please learn more on our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.