Author: Zanele Mabaso

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The 2030 Promise: Multi-sector Partnerships Vital to Advancing Human Health

Johnson & Johnson strives to make a significant impact on people’s lives. After the new Sustainable Development Goals were adopted, JNJ has focused its efforts on galvanizing partners, mobilizing employees and engaging communities with the goal of impacting millions of more lives within the next 15 years. Johnson & Johnson has showed steadfast commitment to advancing human health at the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly and hosted a side event titled: “A Roadmap to Advance Human Health: Catalyzing Multi-sector Partnerships in an interconnected SDG Agenda”, aimed at showcasing Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing how the commitments would be measured. This commitment, titled “2030 Promise”, outlines JNJ’s vision for 2030 and the five areas JNJ will focus their efforts on. These are: Environmental Health Global Disease Challenges Essential Surgery Women’s and Children’s Health Health Workforce Johnson & Johnson’s aspiration is to help create a world where every woman and child survives and has an opportunity for a healthy future, and to do this, JNJ’s goal is to ensure that 60 million …

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Showcasing South Africa’s Top 5 Innovative Mobile Health Technology Solutions

Investing in innovation and technology is essential to transforming communities and enhancing the manner in which day-to-day activities are conducted and managed. Innovation in the health sector is vital, to ensure there are new and revised ways of tackling social determinants to health challenges. South Africa’s National Department of Health and Johnson and Johnson, in support, hosted a satellite session showcasing “South Africa’s Use of Innovative Technologies to Support HIV+ Clients through diagnosis and Retention of Care” at the 21st International AIDS Conference. Below are South Africa’s Top 5 game-changing innovative mobile health technology solutions responding to people living with HIV, through diagnosis and retention of care: 1. MomConnect, launched in 2014, is currently the largest network of it’s kind implemented by a national government. It responds to the challenge of maternal mortality, new-born deaths and child health; with the primary aim of providing pregnant mothers with information about their reproductive health, pregnancy, and nutrition knowledge to ensure every child born lives and every unborn child and it’s mother live healthy lives. MomConnect, is an interactive …

21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016), Durban, South Africa.
Photo shows the AHF AIDS walk.
Photo©International AIDS Society/

Young People’s Leadership in Ending AIDS by 2030

54 young people from  17 different countries across Africa, hosted a Youth Satellite Session at the 21st International AIDS Conference on Youth Leadership in Achieving Universal Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and Ending AIDS by 2030, hosted in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), South Africa’s National Department of Health and Johnson & Johnson. The youth satellite session was  creatively organised, featuring poetry, drama, music and a panel discussion where the young people shared perspectives on how living with and without HIV affects them individually and broadly within the communities they live in. They engaged in an intriguing  inter-generational dialogue with key decision makers, stressing the need for multilateral organizations and governments to collaborate with young people to deliver better programs and initiatives at local levels. This could help to achieve better results towards reducing new infections and ultimately ending HIV/AIDS amongst youth and adolescents aged 15-24 across the continent. Meaningful youth engagement was mentioned as a prerequisite in giving  young people the opportunity  to be part of leadership structures that are involved in the …

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Integrated Development: A Response for Women & HIV

Sub-Saharan Africa is presently the most severely affected region by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. According to the UNAIDS GAP Report, of the total population of 36.7 million living with HIV or AIDS globally, 19 million (seven out of every ten people) live in Eastern and Sub-Saharan Africa, adolescent girls and young women accounting for one in four new HIV infections in the region, therefore, every day in Sub-Saharan Africa 1000 girls and young women are infected with HIV. South Africa, in particular, has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV infections in the world with an estimated 6.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2015, an increase from 5.4 million in 2014. A high proportion of young people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa are young women and adolescents aged 15-24, where 2000 new infections are reported from this vulnerable and at-risk population group every week.  HIV/AIDS also continues to be the highest leading cause of death amongst women and adolescents around the world. Failure to address the needs of women and girls living with …

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#YouthVoices: PMNCH gives Adolescents & Youth a seat at The Table

The Board Chair of the Partnership on Maternal Newborn and Child Health, Graca Machel called for the establishment of a Youth and Adolescents Constituency. In response, The Partnership invited a group of more than 40 young people and youth leaders from 23 countries, representing organisations around the globe to meet in London to develop a strategic plan to ensure adequate representation of youth and adolescent issues in reproductive, maternal, child and adolescent health. The journey leading up to this historic action, spanned nearly two years, where the development of an adolescent health strategy by the Partnership’s Board began in 2013 and included extensive consultation across dozens of young people and youth-serving organisations working in the SRMNCAH (sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health) sector around the world. The initial two-day meeting workshop took place in London 20-21st July 2015, where the global youth representatives engaged in robust discussions and open brainstorming sessions, which lead to concept, principle and strategic plan development, where such resulted in the  formulation of a framework strategy, a proposal to be …

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SDG 17: The significance of Gender Equality in strengthening Global Partnerships

Gender equality is central to the achievement of majority of the SDGs, however has to be made a primary principal objective in the implementation of all the global goals, at national levels. Goal 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls UN member states to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. In delivering it’s mandate to catalyze global solidarity for sustainable development, women and girls have to be seen as key partners in development and active economic agents. SDG 17 is key to the implementation of all the other goals, as it addresses the shortcomings and insufficiently achieved agenda of MDG 8 which was aimed at catalyzing  global solidarity for sustainable development, where after monitoring and evaluations, was found weak in designing and implementing the mobilization of support from wealthier countries to deliver sufficiently on its mandated goal. In 2015 and beyond, Goal 17 thus has to play critical importance to achieving equality and inclusive development in revitalizing global partnerships, with a stronger focus on the role women play to …

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Revealing the Truth: Busting Abortion Myths

Stigma related to unwanted pregnancies and abortion places millions of women and girls at risk all over the world. Not only does stigma negatively impact women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights but it also personally interferes and restricts a woman, her right to freely access safe abortion health services, with fear of being scrutinized by community members in public.  In some situations stigmatization can be almost as dangerous and detrimental to women’s well-being and health as illegal abortion. Access to abortion is an integral part of social and reproductive justice and women have to be constantly reminded about their right to access safe abortion services at health care facilities that are made available to them. Stigma and discrimination which is fed by lack of accurate and adequate information, is often what leads to women and girls who opt for the termination of their pregnancies to undergo illegal and unsafe “back street” abortions, with the hope of attaining confidentiality – which leads to a number of health complications such as: Risk of contracting HIV and …

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Parents: We need to talk

When your teenage adolescent son or daughter unconfidently signs: “Mom, Dad…We need to talk”, the very first feeling enticed – is that of worry and the thought of wonder. Indeed those words are enough to make any parent cringe with unrestrained energy of a million creative thoughts on what lies in the mind of their child – usually the feeling of being about to be asked a pressing question or confronted with the revelation of a recent truth, creeps in. In fact, these are words many young people wish they could say to either or both parents when faced with a dilemma or simply curiosity and look to their elders and/or parents for guidance. Many adolescents are sceptical about asking their parents questions regarding their sexuality and reproductive health. In the absence of guidance from their parents, most often, adolescents and youth lead to peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and social media platforms for answers, with the hope of finding satisfactory knowledge and comfort in what they otherwise would have gained from their parents. The diversified opinions …

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It is time to End Child Marriage!

What were you doing as an 8 year old girl? Maybe you had just started second grade, getting an education, having Tea-Tuesday picnics and playing with imaginary friends in the garden under the watching eye of your parents, who were making sure you are safe and sound. Or were you forced into an early marriage at the tender age of 8, being physically, emotionally and mentally harassed, viciously and brutally sexually assaulted by your male companion [now husband] who is 40 years older. A pain so complex no child is meant to experience – and yet this is a reality for many young girls from as young as 6 years old in countries where child marriage continues to be legal and practiced. An 8-year old child bride from Northwestern Yemen, Hardt in the Middle East, died on her wedding night after suffering internal injuries and sexual trauma from her betrothed husband. This particular incident sparked international outrage and called for global outcry to end child marriage in Yemen. It is believed the young girl died …