ACCESS Health Worldwide (ACCESS-HW) helps businesses contribute to development at the local level. Resources for sustainable development are increasingly uncertain in an era of economic, social, and political instability. Businesses have many resources to help advance sustainable development including knowledge, technology, and infrastructure related to their core business interests. They can reach millions of people through the workplace, communities in which they operate, and through their customers, clients, and supply chains.
Health is a key component of sustainable development. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by governments worldwide to achieve peace and prosperity in the 21st-century call for improvements in health that require reaching more people, especially women, with resources to improve health (see box below).
Many businesses are increasing access to health-related resources for women, often in the context of the larger role they are playing in development. They see how development can contribute to greater economic, social, and political stability, which will benefit their operations. Most partner with nonprofits and/or public agencies. However, a lack of trust, knowledge, and skills required for effective partnerships is still present in all three sectors.
In spite of growing interest among businesses in contributing to development, and interest across all three sectors to partner with each other, there still exist few mechanisms that can help them partner at the local level.
- Women are the primary producers of food and providers of food for their families, yet are more affected by hunger than men. Poor nutrition among pregnant women puts both the women and their children at risk of death.
- Hundreds of thousands of women die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, leaving more than one million children motherless.
- Children who have lost their mothers are up to 10 times more likely to die prematurely than those who have not.
- Fewer women than men are infected with HIV, but their numbers are increasing faster.
- Most of the 2.1 million children under the age of 15 living with HIV were infected while in the womb, at birth, or through breastfeeding.