tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe PBS July 27, 2013 11:30am-12:01pm PDT
>> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation, committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection, and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation, the wallace genetic foundation the e. rhodes and leona b. carpenter foundation, and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. i am a muslim girl i wear the boushiya, i am talking about sex and what i am teaching them about it.
>> when i was 14 i realized because some of my friends got married young, that girls get married young in my village. >> it was important for me to discuss and plan my families >> they will say to you this is a life and death crisis for me because if i can't space the births of my children, i can't feed my children. >> women in developing countries. when experts speak about the challenges these women face they speak of shocking statistics. approximately 290,000 die every year from pregnancy related complications. more than 100,000 of those pregnancies are unintended. there are 80 million unintended pregnancies a year, half of them due to an unmet need for modern contraception. but behind each statistic is a
woman with her own story. hello, i'm bonnie erbe. in the united states contraception is widely available, although still a controversial political issue. so it can be hard to imagine the barriers faced by women in developing nations to access quality reproductive health services. this week on to the contrary, we show you how women and children's lives are being saved in these countries by access to quality health services. advocates say if people really understood the impact lack of access to reproductive health services has on women and families, if we could all experience sadness and courage they experience visiting with these women, change would come more quickly. it's this passion that brought
princesses, first ladies, philanthropists, daughters of former presidents, actors and thousands of others -women and men together in malaysia. here women deliver is about delivering solutions to maternal and child health and equality for women and girls. >> i grew up in kenya in a family of seven children and two parents living in one room with no water, no electricity and no proper sanitation either" >> family planning is an essential human right. family planning saves lives, it allows women and girls to make positive productive changes and choices to seek education, to stay in school to participate fully in society. >> to the contrary executive producer cari stein joined these global health leaders in kuala lumpur. she also visited a program where teenagers learn about
reproductive health and a women's reproductive health clinic. >> malaysia is a diverse multi-ethnic and multi cultural country in southeast asia where malays, indians, chinese and other ethnic groups live side by side. the national religion is islam, however, the people enjoy religious freedom. kuala lumpur, malaysia. a vibrant modern city in known internationally for the iconic petronas towers. >> in the shadow of downtown kuala lumpur is pudu a small poor marginalized community where a family and reproductive health services clinic struggles to meet the unmet needs of women. >> four boy, one girl. >> 44 year old tangchoi ying comes to this clinic for all her health needs. it's where she gets her yearly
physical, blood pressure taken and blood work. it's also where she receives family planning services. >> i've been coming here since i had my first child 23 years ago. >> this young family also comes here to access birth control. husband and wife are at the clinic, with their first child, so they can make a joint decisions about their future. >> i only want two babies, i have one baby only want one more for our future. >> the clinic is a member of the international planned parenthood federation which works in 170 countries. to the contrary visited the center with ippf's director general and the president of planned parenthood of america >> we're very honored to have you both here. >> there were introductions. >> this is the doctor. >> and exchange of information.
they wanted to know clients' preferred method of birth control. here it's oral contraceptives. >> we think there are people who have needs who cannot come because they're poorer than they can afford? >> yes. those who can't afford, we give free supplies. >> we do give free supplies for those who are in need. what we do is really making family planning services, sexual reproductive health services available both as information, education, and to get the program out to those who are in need, especially for young people, marginalized groups who are displaced or can't afford to pay for these services. >> malaysia's progress on women's reproductive health makes it a fitting venue for the women deliver conference. maternal mortality is down and
there are more than 4000 family planning facilities in operation. >> the government decided that they needed to invest in girls and women because after independence they were building a nation and they needed everybody to help do that. their maternal mortality rate at the time this happened was around 570 per 100,000 live births. that's basically the measure. do you know what it is today? 29. >> we believe that family planning, sexual reproductive health, it s at the center of the human development, so we think family planning is important to empower the individual, to care for girls, to care for women, and to save lives. >> pregnancy is the leading cause of death for women globally. reducing maternal mortality is one of the eight millennium development goals adopted by
members of the un and organizations dedicated to fighting poverty and raising the standard of living around the world. some countries have reached some of the goals. but not mdg 5, the commitment to reduce maternal mortality lags behind in sub-saharan africa and south asia. since 1990, maternal deaths worldwide have dropped 47%. it's a good start, but the target was a 75% decrease by 2015. >> the thing i want people to understand is that it is a part of a much broader maternal and child health strategy. >> melinda gates, one of the world's leading advocates for family planning came to women deliver to learn, teach and inspire. gates meets with women in some of the poorest countries. >> i would be in the villages often wanting to talk about vaccines for their children and
they would eventually take to the conversation to well what about what they would call that shot or vaccine for them -- it's a shot -- that i used to get for family families. >> the women and their family had a profound impact on gates >> in country after country when i sit down and talk with women they will tell you that they go to great lengths to get the contraceptive tool to use, they know about them. i am amazed at how many are educated about contraceptives and how vociferous how they are about the fact that had gotten a shot before possibly depovera but then they will go to the health clinic and it is not available to them and they will say to you this is a life and death crisis for me because if i can't space the births of my children, i can't feed my children. >> the women talk about quite often though how they have to do it without their husband knowing about it. women often need to seek birth control without their husbands' knowledge. >> they will bring into the conversation that they left the field for the day, my husband didn't know where i was going, i walked 15 kilometers to the health clinic and it was not there. when am i ever going to be able to go again?
>> nothing is more inspiring than a woman who finds the strength to raise her voice again and again until people are forced to listen and respond. to me, that's what the fight for women's empowerment looks like. >> this woman marianne summed it up, what i want for this child, as she was holding for her baby, i want every good thing for this child before i have another one. and i thought, that is it, she has captured for women what is universal in this. every good thing for that child. that is what a mother wants for her child no matter where she lives in the world. >> so gates put out a clarion call. she's looking ahead post-2015 with goal to deliver modern contraceptives to another 120 million women by 2020. >> our ability to create complex partnerships and change systems in dozens of countries will determine whether or not we get
the results we want in the future. >> more than 200 million people have no access to family planning. research shows when contraception increases maternal deaths decrease. >> in some countries we don't even have the budget line for family planning. >> in every country it is the combination of government and civil seat and the medical profession making advances for women's health. that's true in the united states as well, it takes partnership. >> the women deliver conference is brings partners together. it's the brainchildren of longtime rights advocate jill sheffield. after getting married sheffield moved to kenya and started volunteering at a family planning clinic. >> on my 27th birthday, which was a little while ago, we had a clinic and a woman came and i took her history and it turned
out that she was 27. but there, the comparison absolutely finished because while she was 27 she had 11 pregnancies and had 6 living children. she had the new baby on the front and the old baby on the back. she's been on the bus since 4:00 in the morning, had been waiting in the hot equatorial sun to have family planning, and at that moment i thought, wow, this is a truly brave young woman. and if she can be brave enough to come here, i can be brave enough to do something. >> the women deliver conference brought together more than 4,500 people from 149 countries. they all had the same message, invest in girls and women and
everybody wins. >> when girls go to school for at least five years, their trajectory on the change of their life is like this, when she goes for seven or more, the trajectory changes to like that. and it's not because she's learned about kings and queens or capital cities or rivers and mountain ranges, it's the fact of being in school. her mother-in-law looks at her differently, her husband looks at her differently, the community regards her differently. and there are miraculous things that happen as a side effect to the educational investment. >> in conversation with ministries of finance...governments...with donors, it is also important to make the economic case and so we showed the gains not only to the individual women themselves but also to their families, to their communities to their nations and
to the world at large. >> thousands of people are working on issues relating to maternal mortality and empowering women and girls. their tools include education, medication, and other health services and strategies. one of those strategies is to invest in midwives. experts say it could save more than three and a half million women and newborns by 2015. >> all of us working together can look for ways to improve the quality of healthcare to the most vulnerable populations. >> investments are needed and there is a lot we know that works. so now for example something like 99% of all maternal deaths happen in developing countries so there are technical and medical solutions to avert what are really quite preventable deaths and morbidity. and the cost of deaths and morbidity far exceed the costs of investing in prevention.
>> experts also say ending child marriages would save lives. sarita, a young woman from a rural town in india, convinced her parents to let her stay in school instead of getting married at the age of 14. >> i explained to my father what i learned in life-skill education class that getting married early has several risks. one of my friends who got married early, she was pregnant when she was young and she died in childbirth and her baby. i also talked about how it is important for a girl to be educated and be independent. >> with nearly 3 billion people under the age of 25 the reality of a better tomorrow will ultimately be the job of the next generation of leaders. they include barbara bush and
chelsea clinton. like her mother -- >> it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights separate from human rights. >> chelsea clinton is a human rights advocate. >> it's outrageous that children are dying from. >> actress and singer- songwriter mandy moore, a global ambassador for population services international, also known as psi is dedicated to involving more young people. >> the majority of the young people i talked to were really advocates and passionate about sexual and reproductive rights. i put forth this challenge to people and to myself to sort of get out of your comfort zone, go up to people, start conversations, introduce yourself, make allies, make friends, and support each other, push each other, challenge each other, 'cause that's what's going to drive the conversation forward. >> barbara bush founded global health corps offering
scholarships to help nurture young leaders who believe health is a human right. >> what we do everyday is mobilize young leaders from around the world. we train them and then we place them within organizations working on health care delivery we invest in our fellows' leadership development and we mentor them and we train them on advocacy and policy change. >> bush pointed to two corps fellows working with the clinton health access initiative in malawi in a community with a 25% hiv/aids rate. both in their 20's, jeffrey is from malawi and emily from ohio. >> they were basically working the every hiv positive expectant mother in the community, enrolling them in this program ensuring they mentorship from other moms who have hiv negative babies and in one year with global health corp they found
all 7,000 hiv positive expectant mothers in the community. a year later all 7,000 of them had an hiv negative baby. >> access to family planning does not necessarily mean that the woman is going to be empowered enough to go and seek family planning, you know. because at the end of the day, issues to do with culture, religion, there's a relationship between culture, religion, and choice. >> a former global health corps fellow now runs her own ngo in uganda. >> i thought all right so there's a gap in health promotion education, specifically with male involvement. not only in family planning, but issues dealing with hiv and aids, gender based violence. so that's when i said, alright i'm going to use arts and entertainment. >> the twist is about reversing gender roles and engaging men in the women's health and equality. >> i am going to put up something so much fun, so creative, it's just going to make them go, wow, but at the end of the day, there's a
message that is hidden in all that arts and entertainment and it's working. >> it's young advocates who first saw the value of technology as a tool of empowerment. >> we're actually introducing a new mobile phone app for young women who have just had their first child to help them be a better mothers. it's also going to start telling them things they could do to ensure that they're planning and spacing their future families at the rate they want. >> many, many young people are now coming to planned parenthood through their cell phone, and not only young people in the united states, but young people all across the globe. so one of the exciting things about at this conference has been the opportunity to talk to people about our ability to reach more young people where they are and where they live, and quite honestly that's through their cell phone. >> in malaysia, 43-percent of the population is young people. educating them about reproductive health and equality is done peer to peer. despite great strides, recent headlines underscore the need
for high quality information about reproductive health. >> we have read many cases of abandoned babies. we don't want such a thing to happen to, you know, a life, you see? and our concern is the young person, if she was given sufficient information, she was given enough knowledge, she would use a contraceptive if she was to have sex. >> we traveled a few hours outside of kuala lumpur to a town called melaka where that support is being offered. >> here at the integrated family services, teens both male and female come to learn about family planning from peer educators. >> i am a muslim girl...i am talking about sex and what i am teaching them about it.
but then we are looking at it from another perception, which is health perception, our work is based on marginalized community. so we have seen a lot of young people with hiv positive. young people with stds. so we do not want it to happen that is my position, my principle when they ask okay why we talking about it. >> dila is a peer educator at this reproductive health clinic. >> i hope that we can educate the young generation about give them information so they will not turn to wrong source of information. >> i want you to discuss how you will prevent unwanted pregnancy. you don't have any question to ask any more. >> the ones here will lie on the paper and you guys will draw her or him. this will help you to understand
what is in your bodies. >> i liked the body mapping. we learned at the same time as we drew our friends shape. know all the parts of my body now. >> we have, we have the support of the government, but there are, there are still many gaps, there still many areas that can be improved, okay. we have not reached, like, zero hiv infections, we have not reached, like, zero maternal deaths, we have not reached zero infant deaths, so there is still much more to be done. >> when we give them education, they take it and they will fight for their right. >> i believe that the same myths that you hear from this global conference, we hear from young people in the united states who are unfortunately and woefully ill-educated on basic prevention for -- and also understanding how to get contraceptives, what basic sex education is, and also some of the fundamental questions that young people deal with which is in relationships,
sexuality. >> usually, we say that there are cultural and religious barriers and so on. this conference has proved that none of that is true because what you see here are people who are coming from different political spectrums, from religious background, races, cultural, geographical regions, the world is united in saying that yes to hiv preventatives and reproductive rights are important. >> we had such a tough time getting sexual and reproductive health into the millennium development goals. it continues to be a need, it's not over, that is an unfinished agenda that we need to continue to focus on. so anything we do in terms of sustainable development goals for the future, we need to keep this at the center. >> there are several countries where we see considerable and dramatic changes. burundi -- burundi started with 2.9% about 3-4 year ago prevalence of modern
contraception. today, they are almost 25%. we are very confident that with the new visibility family planning has, we should be able to push even further and make a difference in lots of people. >> on the very first day, i had the first word and i asked participants to decide what it was they were going to do when they leave here because, frankly, that's what determines the success of the conference, and they have different ideas, new solutions, new information. girls and women are the story. family planning is the most efficient way to invest in women's lives and the 2015 development agenda is a crucial pathway for all of us. >> the work ahead will be difficult, but i am optimistic because i know we're all united by a single powerful premise:
that what matters is doing everything we can to help women and girls flourish worldwide. >> we here at to the contrary will continue to follow this issue as women and girls make progress toward a more just tomorrow. follow us on twitter at to the contrary and visit our web site pbs.org/tothecontrary, where the discussion continues. >> equality is the key to this. inequality harms everybody. >> i think it's just the right to have the choice. the same opportunity, the same rights, the same access. >> having women's voices equally heard and acted upon around the world. >> the man and the woman must be equal. >> i am just the same as you. it's that power in unity. that is equality to me.
>> what does equality mean to me? >> equality means not having to ask what authority is anymore. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: the cornell douglas foundation, committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection, and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by: the colcom foundation, the wallace genetic foundation the e. rhodes and leona b. carpenter foundation, and by the charles a. frueauff foundation. for a transcript to see an online version of this episode of to the contrary, visit our pbs web site at
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