April is buzzing about international health and rightly so.
The World Health Organization has called for a focus on the global epidemic of diabetes for World Health Day (#WorldHealthDay) on April 7. We don’t often think about diabetes globally, but in fact, the WHO reports that 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where contributing factors include a lack of proper nutrition, diagnosis, and care. Diabetes can be especially difficult for women and cause problems during pregnancy including miscarriage or birth defects. Women with diabetes are also more likely to have a heart attack, and at a younger age (Diabetes Sisters, 2016).
Just a few days later, International Day for Maternal Health and Rights (#IntlMHDay) is on April 11. An estimated 800 women die every day from complications during pregnancy and childbirth, and 99% of these deaths are in developing countries. Contributors include a lack of knowledge and affordable transport and care options. HIV/AIDS also comes into play as women make up approximately 52% of those living with the disease. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, an estimated 24% of deaths in pregnant or postpartum women are attributable to HIV (Change Center for Gender and Health Equity, 2016).
WPMarket is focused on accelerating female artisans, so you may ask why we’re even talking about health. Well, not surprisingly, research shows a strong connection between women’s health and economic empowerment. Namely, healthier women are more likely to participate in the workforce. Vice-versa, when women are able to earn money, they are more likely to prioritize routine health care for themselves and their families and at a higher degree than their male counterparts (Bloom, 2015).
Healthy mothers are able to better care for their children during pregnancy and the newborn stage, and healthy mothers with HIV/AIDS are more likely to survive delivery and are less likely to pass along the disease to their children. Moreover, as maternal and newborn mortality decreases, children are given a fighting chance to grow and develop. As the child matures, a healthier child with a living mother is more likely to go to school and do well in school.
Educated girls become educated mothers who are more likely to marry later and more likely to use family-planning services to space their children. Namely, if all women had a primary education, early births could fall by 10%. If all women had a secondary education, early births could fall by 59% (Brookings Institution, 2016). Additionally, educated women to utilize preventive health care, reducing the transmission of diseases like HIV/AIDS. If all young adults completed primary education, we could expect 700,000 fewer new cases of HIV infections each year, or 7 million in a decade (Brookings Institution, 2016).
For all these reasons, WPMarket prioritizes holistic training programs that combine skills and business training that combine life-skills training, including increasing women’s knowledge and access to quality healthcare for themselves and their families. This comes in the form of the partners we work with worldwide and through our own evolving artisan training curriculum.
While we could feature a number of our partners, we’re highlighting Elolo this month (pictured below). Elolo works in Cape Town, South Africa with women that have HIV/AIDS. Elolo trains these women in jewelry-making while they fight the disease, allowing them to make an income. Not only are they more financially secure, but they are able to define themselves beyond just this disease. In turn, Elolo hopes to change cultural views and behaviors toward HIV/AIDS.
All month long, we’ll be featuring Elolo’s Idayimani Bracelet. This lightweight bracelet features just enough sparkle, an adjustable clasp, and can be easily stacked with others.
With your purchase of this product, you’ll not only receive a fun, unique piece of jewelry, but you’ll also be equipping Elolo to train and work with even more women fighting this disease. We hope you’ll join us.
Shop below or here.
This blog was written by Rachel Hartgen, WPMarket Co-Founder and Managing Director.
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