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Thinking globally.

Measures of mortality and morbidity are accurate reflections of a country's standard of living and state of development. Life expectancy and the illness rates are among the most commonly used demographic measures of public health. The World Health Organization indicates improvement in child mortality globally with rates down 30% from 1990, but this is not true for all countries. Health disparities for women are most relevant to global health. The health of communities and families is intimately tied to the health of their women. Illness or death of a mother influences the health, nutrition, and income of her children. Conditions related to maternal health are the leading cause of death in women globally, and sadly, nearly all of these deaths are preventable with proper prenatal and delivery care. Of those living in extreme poverty 70% of them are women.

Some of the top health issues globally for women, identified by the WHO (2016) are:

* Breast and cervical cancer, which if detected early by standard screening these women can survive.

* Poor reproductive health related to no access to contraception, care, and screening.

* Lack of prenatal and delivery care lead to preventable maternal death. Over 300,000 women died from preventable complications of pregnancy in 2013.

* New cases of HIV are highest in women and safe sex is not an option for many globally.

* Similar to HIV other untreated sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis lead to stillbirth and fetal death.

* Violence against women statistics remain alarmingly high at one in three women globally influencing physical and mental health.

* Mental health issues are more common in women than men

The World Health Organization and the United Nations are working on improving health systems and getting enough trained and motivated health care workers to develop a global strategy for the health of women and children. Women globally need access to birth control and education about their pregnancy and childbirth. We need to reduce maternal mortality and are still falling short of previous goals. The health of entire countries can be improved by education and empowering mothers. Strategies include education, policy and legislation, surveillance, risk factor identification and reduction, assessing community development, program implementation targeting social and environmental supports, and evaluation of efforts.

These strategies are targeted to changing health behaviors that influence communicable disease, acute and non-communicable disease, safety, violence, mental health, and environmental influences on health. On a global level, health promotion and education will influence the most positive change.

There are new and endless opportunities as well risks as the effects of globalization influence the health of all people. The poorest countries need to be assisted with access to knowledge, technology, and resources to improve health. It is more than a social responsibility to ensure these poor countries are not left behind and further marginalized; a health issue in one part of the world can rapidly influence the health of all people as we have learned from SARS, and most recently the Zika virus. For those of you who have gone overseas or to underserved areas to help educate and protect pregnant women, we at ICEA honor your work. Write it down and share your experiences to inspire other ICEA members to do the same, make a difference, create positive social change, send out a ripple of knowledge and healing, and meet the goals of ICEA. We want to educate and empower families to make the best decisions about their health. I hope this issue inspires you to step out of your own community and share your skills and knowledge.

Peace, Debra


Bustrea. F. (2016). Ten top issues for women's health. Retrieved from WHO website: commentaries/2015-intl-womens-day/en/

Linn, J. G. & Wilson, D. R. (2012). Health Issues for the Encyclopedia of Globalization. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD MSN RNIBCLC AHN-BC CHT
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Title Annotation:The Editor's Perspective
Author:Wilson, Debra Rose
Publication:International Journal of Childbirth Education
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2016
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