SRHR to achieve
Health for all

Why are sexual and reproductive health and rights vital to health for all?

We all want similar things – to go through our lives in good health and to get quick, good, compassionate care if we are ever ill or injured, and to do so without fearing going bankrupt due to high health care bills. 

This is why Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is needed. It would mean that all of us would have access to the highest attainable standard of health without barriers and at an affordable price. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are a fundamental part of everybody’s right to be healthy. 

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are all about having information, choices and adequate care over your body and health. They are fundamental to bodily autonomy and to leading free and safe lives, free from coercion and free to choose one’s path when it comes to education, career and family life. Thus, we cannot imagine a world where sexual and reproductive health and rights would not be fully embedded in Universal Health Coverage. They are indispensable. If SRHR services, information and education are not integrated in and seen as key components of UHC, there will be no achievement of UHC or of the right to health.

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#AWorldWhere universal sexual and reproductive health is a reality within our reach. But we need to act now.

Integrating SRHR in UHC could help address the large magnitude of existing SRHR needs, including the lack of comprehensive SRHR affecting entire communities and countries. It could bring us a step closer to curbing maternal mortality, tackling the unmet need for contraceptive care, the lack of access to SRH services for adolescents and youth, widespread unsafe abortions, as well as it could ease access to treatments for STIs and HIV for people in need.

Integrating SRHR in UHC is not only the right thing to do, but is also future-proof as sexual and reproductive health services are low cost, cost effective and not difficult to incorporate into UHC packages. SRHR interventions are estimated to have an ~9:1 return on investment because of their impact on health and other broad social and economic benefits. Investing in these not only saves lives, but releases financial resources that would otherwise be spent on higher-level care. For example, every dollar spent on contraceptive services could save $2.20 in costs resulting from unintended pregnancies.

Here are 5 ways European governments and the international community can work towards a future where sexual and reproductive health for all is a reality

Recognise comprehensive SRHR as an indispensable and integral component of UHC
Critical to the realisation of the right to health, sustainable development and a necessary precondition for gender equality, non-discrimination and ending poverty
Commit to a rights-based, intersectional approach to SRHR
Promote the respect of everyone’s SRHR and support universal access to integrated and comprehensive SRH services for all individuals who need them, regardless of their age, marital or socio-economic status, disability, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics
Actively engage communities in achieving UHC
As their participation is key to building health services that are responsive to the local needs of communities
Prioritise funding
For SRHR and financially support CSOs which implement community outreach, awareness raising, service delivery and advocacy programmes, all key to achieving SRHR and health for al
Be a vocal supporter for SRHR
in multilateral fora, including at the United Nations, and in political dialogues with partner countries
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