FEMM statement at the 55th Commission on Social Development

Published on February 7, 2017

Statement delivered by Nerea Lopetegui at the United Nations Commission on Social Development

Thank you Mister/Madam Chair. I am speaking on behalf of the FEMM Foundation, a knowledge-based health program for women inspired by women’s right to be informed participants in their own healthcare and to make voluntary decisions based on options, information, and understanding.

The Sustainable Development Goals recognize the connections between health and poverty by including health as a standalone goal in the agenda. But even though health is a stan
dalone goal, it is closely connected with a number of other goals, and poverty eradication efforts as a whole. Lack of health can interfere with education, work, family life, and community engagement.

Women and girls comprise half the world’s population, but remain more vulnerable to health problems due to both biological and social reasons. Therefore, strategies to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication must address women’s health needs to truly be achieved “for all.” FEMM’s programs offer a way implement strategies that effectively address women’s health needs through its three areas of contribution: research, education, and treatment.

FEMM’s researchers have discovered a critical link between a woman’s hormonal health and her overall health, including links between conditions not previously considered related to reproductive health. By synthesizing existing research and conducting new research, they have identified what constitutes sufficient levels for nine essential hormones. This has led to the creation of improved diagnostic criteria and treatments.

FEMM also provides key education to women. Education is critical to healthcare because it helps patients to be informed participants in their care and know when to seek help. Women have accepted symptoms such as irregular bleeding, pain, depression, mood swings, and weight gain as normal for too long, not knowing that while these may be common, they are not healthy and may be signs of underlying hormonal imbalances. Women who understand their bodies can identify key signs of health, make informed choices about family planning, and know when to seek medical help. FEMM education empowers women, regardless of educational level, in all these areas, and does so in a way that respects their agency and values.

Knowing when to seek medical help is only useful if healthcare providers are equipped to diagnose and treat the underlying hormonal imbalances at the root. These conditions can affect women and girls’ long term health, sometimes irreversibly, but doctors often struggle to diagnose them and may only be able to manage symptoms. This is where the application of FEMM’s research is key. Utilizing this research, FEMM has created a medical management program with diagnostic protocols and treatments that get at the root causes of hormonal imbalances to heal women. This care can be provided through basic healthcare delivery systems, making implementation efficient and cost-effective.

FEMM’s programs are ready to be part of strategies for poverty eradication and sustainable development and ensure that women are able to participate fully in society. We urge the Members of the Commission to invest in healthcare that meets women’s needs and we stand ready to help. Thank you.

You can view a video of this statement on FEMM’s Facebook Page.

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