Ensuring women's access to health care and family planning services

Providing womens health services

Ensuring good quality, comprehensive health services that meet women's need and are accessible to all women.


(j) Implement, as a matter of urgency, in accordance with country specific conditions and legal systems, measures to ensure that women and men have the same right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children, to have access to the information, education and means, as appropriate, to enable them to exercise this right in keeping with their freedom, dignity and personally held values taking into account ethical and cultural considerations. Governments should take active steps to implement programmes to establish and strengthen preventive and curative health facilities which include women-centred, women-managed, safe and effective reproductive health care and affordable, accessible services as appropriate for the responsible planning of family size, in keeping with freedom, dignity and personally held values, taking into account ethical and cultural considerations. Programmes should focus on providing comprehensive health care, including pre-natal care, education and information on health and responsible parenthood and should provide the opportunity for all women to fully breast feed at least during the first four months post- partum. Programmes should fully support women's productive and reproductive roles and well being, with special attention to the need for providing equal and improved health care for all children and the need to reduce the risk of maternal and child mortality and sickness.


WHO has programmes specifically aimed at improving the health of women. Disaggregated mortality, morbidity and health-related data are collected. A programme on maternal and child health, including family planning, addresses the needs of women by means of a multi-faceted approach that aims at: ensuring that pregnant women receive adequate antenatal care and have access to essential obstetric and gynaecological care provided by trained health workers; ensuring that most births are attended by trained health workers; that the health infrastructure provides for access to family-planning; and that there is intersectoral action to enhance the role and status of women. WHO supports 90 developing countries with specific maternal and child health/family planning programmes and collaborates with UNFPA in this regard. A strategy has been launched to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. A major part of UNFPA-supported activities are in the areas of maternal and child health and family planning services. UNICEF's strategy can be seen as partly concerned with means of eliminating sex disparities from birth and of increasing the access of both girls and young women to health and educational services. FAO country nutrition profile emphasizes the needs of pregnant and lactating women. Participation of women in supplementary feeding programmes is encouraged. A significant proportion of the projects assisted by the WFP are explicitly focused on improving the health and nutritional status of nutritionally vulnerable groups including women.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 5: Gender Equality