Challenge steers focus to women’s health

Challenge steers focus to women’s health

Aligned with the United Nations (UN) Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016) and supporting the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women, British pharmaceutical company ViiV Healthcare launched the Empowering Girls in Emergency Settings (EmGEmS) Challenge in 2016.


The challenge — part of ViiV Healthcare’s shared value Positive Action Challenges programme, which works with and supports global partners and community-based organisations to provide solutions to challenges in international development — offered $100,000 to a programme that supports the empowerment and education of young women in emergency settings in terms of their sexual and reproductive health.


Created in 1992 as one of the first pharmaceutical company programmes to support communities affected by HIV and AIDS, Positive Action Challenges support more than 350 partners working in local communities globally on HIV prevention and treatment.


The winners of the first EmGEmS Challenge were humanitarian organisation, Circle of Health International (COHI), and Ayzh Inc, which is a social venture that provides support for impoverished women worldwide, for their 2016 field work in Syria.


The winning submission involved the distribution of customised safe delivery and menstrual hygiene kits to educate Syrian midwives on basic delivery and menstrual health related topics — including family planning, violence against women, breastfeeding and HIV — to aid in their training of young women and girls.


“We are very excited to have launched this challenge with ViiV Healthcare, which has enabled us to spotlight the urgent needs of girls and women in emergency situations. We congratulate Ayzh and COHI for their dedication in ensuring that even in traumatic situations, women and girls can benefit from safe and hygienic deliveries and menstrual health,” said Natalie Africa, senior director for private sector engagement for the UN secretary-general’s Every Woman Every Child multi-stakeholder movement.


Ayzh and COHI’s winning kits were designed with mass replicability in mind, but are also easily customisable based on needs, customs and practices for different communities. The kits are a low-cost intervention, each costing between $3 and $5.


“The programme is scalable based on access, adoption and maintenance of the modules and the kits themselves. Over the past 12 years, COHI has distributed thousands of menstrual and birth kits at a time through partnerships with Ayzh and other suppliers,” says CEO and founder of COHI, Sera Bonds.


“For example, we have also distributed hundreds of menstrual health and hygiene kits in Nepal. We are delighted to expand our work with Ayzh to provide kits and training in Syria and Sierra Leone thanks to funding from the Positive Action Challenges.”


ViiV Healthcare focuses on finding new medicines to treat and prevent HIV.


Its Positive Action Challenges programme is based on the premise that no one has the monopoly on innovation or creativity. Challenges are issued to encourage collaboration to provide shared value opportunities to help solve world problems.


Article Source: Business Day

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