As CEO of WomanCare Global, a non-profit supply chain for reproductive care products, I've talked to thousands of women from almost every continent. What women, and specifically mothers, want is astonishingly simple: to provide a better life for their children. They also know they can provide a better quality of life by taking control of their family planning and in turn, make the choice to empower their future.
When mothers get the family planning resources they want, everyone benefits. Families who have access to contraceptives tend to be healthier, wealthier and better educated. With broad access to contraceptives, we could decrease a third of maternal deaths and a quarter of deaths of children under five.
Countries benefit from family planning, too. Family planning services cost $1 per person but return at least $4 in healthcare savings. Contraception can lead to better educated citizens with greater workforce participation and economic stability.
More than 200 million women worldwide want to avoid pregnancy but don't have access to contraceptives. We've met women who've had to walk two days just to reach a health clinic. She has a baby on her back, a baby in her belly and two children walking behind her, and when she finally gets to the clinic she may find it out of stock or get a pack of counterfeit pills.
WomanCare Global is combating these problems directly through a sustainable supply chain. We believe women everywhere should have access to real choice: a full range of quality family planning methods that work for every woman's life stage and unique circumstance. We partner with leading healthcare and pharmaceutical companies to bring the best reproductive healthcare products into our portfolio. We register and license each product, oversee quality manufacturing, and distribute the products through an extensive global network that reaches women in even the most remote areas of the world in more than 100 countries. We help healthcare providers by improving medical detailing to include real time interventions, and measure impact.
WomanCare Global brings all these resources together to form a quality supply chain by using a hybrid for-profit/non-profit model. We use the profit we make in developed markets to subsidize developing markets. We also combine the medical, social and commercial expertise of both the private and public sectors. We use sustainable private sector practices to avoid relying on solely subsidized activities.
While a supply chain doesn't sound glamorous, it's a critical building block to improve the health, education and well-being of mothers, children and entire societies. If you want to improve the world, start by providing women with what they want.
Follow Saundra Pelletier on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SaundraWCG