The invisible suffering of women and girls must end

Published: 24 May 2016

By Dr Julie Lyn Hall, Director of Health, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Where: Breakfast @ WHS

Date and Time: 24 May 2016. 7:30 to 8:45 am

Venue: Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul

Too many girls are born, struggle to survive, find themselves pregnant in their early teens through force, and then die in labour. 

This so often happens without these young girls ever getting a birth certificate - and without their deaths ever being recorded.

These women are invisible. They live and die without ever being even a number - let alone a proper name or a face.

We must make them visible. We must tell their stories. We must work hard to ensure that we collect proper data - on the numbers of young women like this, on the causes of their deaths, and on the efforts - if any - that were made to save them.

We must do this so we can properly hold ourselves to account for these needless deaths. And we ‎need to do this so we can focus resources where they are most needed - the invisible suffering that modern medicine can often so easily prevent or respond to.

Better data, holding us to account, making the invisible suffering visible - these are things that we can collectively do. These are things that communities themselves can play a huge part in if we empower and support them.

At the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, we commit to working with our National Societies to find ways to reach communities no matter where they are, and to give name and face to invisible suffering so that we can work collectively to address it.