Roundtable Meeting on Women’s Health brings policy makers and experts together in Beijing

4 August 2017

The Roundtable meeting on Women’s Health through Life Course and Empowerment was convened in Beijing on 4 August 2017, co-organized by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), and the China Office of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA.

Supported by the National Office for Maternal and Child Health Surveillance and the George Institute for Global Health, the Meeting gathered national policy makers and experts from health and development sectors, international development agencies, academia and NGOs, to share national and international experiences on improving women’s health throughout life course and empowerment. The meeting participants discussed about emerging health issues and challenges faced by women at every stage of life, and some of the strategies to address the gaps through increased multi-sectoral collaboration, policy research and innovative approaches.

In opening remarks, Mr. Qin Geng, the Director General of the Maternal and Child Health Department of NHFPC, emphasized high priority and attention accorded by the Chinese Government to women’s health, as reflected the “Healthy China 2030” plan, the China Women’s Development Programme (2011-2020), as well as a number of national laws protecting and promoting health of women. Owing to committed investment by the Government, China has made remarkable progress in maternal and child health. He welcomed the meeting discussions to provide further insights and propositions to strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration and investments for empowerment and well-being of women and girls.

Dr. Babatunde Ahonsi, UNFPA Representative to China, emphasized the timeliness and relevance of this dialogue. The recently concluded High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development reiterated the importance of empowering women and girls for prosperous societies, through highlighting the interlinkages of the SDG goals on health and gender with global efforts to eradicate poverty in all dimensions. While great strides in health have been achieved globally, as witnessed by increased life expectancy and decrease in maternal and health mortality rate, gaps remain in universal access to reproductive health, non-communicable diseases and mental ill-health, among others. Multi-sectoral response incorporating gender equality and empowerment of women and girls will be required to address the challenges effectively. 

Dr. Ahonsi underscored the remarkable progress that China achieved in women’s health through continuous investment in education, employment and promoting reproductive health and rights of men and women. He expressed UNFPA’s commitment to facilitate exchange of these experiences, including through China’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation with other developing countries.

 

Two keynote presentations were made on global and national overviews of women’s health status and key determinants by Dr. Zhu Jun, Director of National Office for Maternal and Child Health Surveillance, and Professor Robyn Norton, Principal Director of the George Institute for Global Health respectively. National and international experts engaged in extensive discussions to highlight the significance of women’s health and empowerment to the achievements of the SDGs, including ending poverty, from perspectives on health, gender and health economics.

An outcome document of the meeting will be developed with key conclusions and recommendations emanating from the rich discussions of the meeting.