By Campaign Life Coalition UN Representative

  April 15, 2008 ( – UNIFEM appoints new Executive Director, Global Monitoring Report 2008

  UNIFEM appoints new Executive Director

  Inés Alberdi of Spain was appointed Executive Director of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) last week. A news release issued by UNIFEM Headquarters explains that Alberdi “has over 25 years of gender issues and in politics.” Members of the U.N. pro-life pro-family coalition have expressed concerns about Alberdi’s track record. She is known by pro-lifers in her country as having spoken up in favor of abortion and the right for homosexuals to adopt.

  Global Monitoring Report 2008

  The World Bank and the International Monatary Fund released their 2008 Global Monitoring Report. The document warns that most countries will fall short of meeting the Millennium development Goals (MDGs). Established in 2000, the MDGs are the central mean used by the U.N. to evaluate progress on various issues including poverty reduction, reduction of child mortality and maternal deaths.  The 2008 Global Monitoring Focus report speaks of the negative impact of environmental hazards on the overall quality of health.

  The section dedicated to the measure of the quality of health care presents some interesting points. Namely, it truly demonstrates the need for skilled birth attendants and emphasizes the effects of a high rate of medial personnel absenteeism on the general quality of the healthcare system of various countries. This is a refreshing perspective. The reports of many U.N agencies often focus on the improvement of sexual and reproductive health rights and access to abortion and often omit to address the true health challenges faced by people in developing countries.

  Nonetheless, the document does make a mention of the need to ensure that poor rural communities have access to reproductive health programs. The document compares a child feeding program in Argentina which delivers 40 to 75% of its services to the poorest 20% of the community to a program in India.  The report states that “in contrast, such clear positive outcomes were not found in two reproductive health programs- mobile reproductive health camps and the education sessions- conducted in the rural part of Gujarat state in India.”

  The poorest nations are often targeted by various sexual and reproductive health programs, very few of which are actually abstinence education programs. Promoting abortion and family planning does not reduce poverty or improve the quality of health care systems in developing countries. Programs that focus on access to clean water, skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetric care not only save life, but also produce better long term results.

  The report mentions that it is difficult to measure the quality of health care services because of the lack of universally agreed upon indicators. Whereas some groups would include access to abortion as a positive indicator, it should be noted that abortion, far from being a basic health care intervention, increases the risk of breast cancer and depression and other health risks. Abortion, unlike other essential services listed above, does not produce positive long term results and ignores the human dignity of the patients.