141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

Applying rights-based approaches for the prevention of maternal mortality and morbidity: Recent developments at the united nations

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Alicia Ely Yamin, JD MPH , FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard University, Boston, MA
Rebecca Cantor, MPH, MSW , Program on the Health Rights of Women and Children, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Purpose: This presentation explains how both human rights law and public health practice have evolved in the area of maternal health and how they can be combined through application of the UN Technical Guidance in order to achieve the overall human rights goal of advancing women's dignity and equality. Background: The UN Secretary General launched a Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health in 2010 after noting that failures of accountability and human rights resulted in inadequate progress on MDG 5. Human rights bodies also pledged to support efforts. In 2012, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a historic Technical Guidance, which provides concrete assistance for policymakers and public health planners in regards to rights-based approaches for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. Conclusions: A human rights-based approach to maternal health changes decision-making processes, and the issues and actors included in those processes and outcomes. The UN Technical Guidance describes these changes at every stage of planning, budgeting, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and ensuring accountability, including an emphasis on principles of transparency, non-discrimination, participation, and accountability. The UN Technical Guidance can assist policymakers and planners in improving women's health and their enjoyment of rights by setting out the implications of adopting a rights-based approach at each step of the policy cycle. Research Methods: This presentation is based upon participation in the creation of the UN Technical Guidance and its application, together with conceptual analysis of human rights frameworks and maternal health programming and evaluation work.

Learning Areas:
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Explain the implications of adopting a rights-based approach to maternal health at all stages of the policy-making , implementation, and review cycles; Describe distinctions between a rights-based approach to health and conventional public health planning and programming.

Keywords: Maternal Health, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the creation of the Technical Guidance and its application. As a human rights lawyer, I have focused on analyzing human rights frameworks and maternal health programming and evaluation. I am the principal of a research grant examining the impact of maternal deaths on living children and communities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.