GDS staff have directed or participated in MNCH projects in – from a long list of countries – Nicaragua, Senegal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Ghana, Kenya, India, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. Distinguishing our work is how we have built out from basic MNCH programs to provide or improve a broader range of women's health care services – services that were not previously included in standard donor-supported MNCH programs. Two examples:
A GDS staff member, through an in-depth analysis of available data, determined that breast cancer was the leading killer of women in Jordan. With donor approval, he leveraged resources to launch a widely heralded information campaign, trained female Ob/Gyns in breast examination, provided in-home training in self-examination to one-quarter million women, and obtained mammography machines that quadrupled availability in the country. The results were gratifying. One of several positive statistics: the late-stage discovery of malignancy had been running at 70 percent of all CaBreast detections in the country, a death sentence for many women. One year into the program the percentage of malignancies not discovered until an advanced stage had dropped to 37 percent.
Violence against women
With forward-thinking – perhaps courageous – support from the donor, GDS staff added VAW activities to an MCH/RH program in Jordan. Included were support for student activism, in-home counseling for 21,000 abused women, and outreach to 230,000 women. The outreach included education and printed materials.
Testimony to the intractable nature of this plague, the results were modest, but they were measurable. Twenty-one percent of the abused women who had been counseled sought assistance and/or protection.