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The First Lady of Uganda and the Institute for Women’s Health Launch the Women’s Optimal Health Framework

By February 20, 2024February 21st, 2024News4 min read


KAMPALA, Uganda — (February 9, 2024)—The Institute for Women’s Health, a Washington, D.C.-based health policy organization that promotes the well-being of women and girls across the lifespan, today released its Women’s Optimal Health Framework (WOHF), a new vision for women’s health, in conjunction with the First Lady of Uganda. The WOHF provides guidance on evidence-based, high-impact, efficient,  community-oriented care for women across the lifespan in every nation and walk of life.

“We must care for women and girls, not just their diseases. The Women’s Optimal Health Framework (WOHF) will be an important resource as Uganda supports the physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of all women throughout their lives,” said Her Excellency, Janet Museveni, First Lady of Uganda.

“We’re standing together because nations need reliable, evidence-based strategies to build health policies that empower and support women, children, and families,” said Museveni and IWH President & CEO Valerie Huber. “Together, we can improve health and create brighter futures at every stage of life – from her first 1,000 days to her last breath.”

The goal of the Framework is to identify the medical, social, environmental, educational, and other factors that are associated with health and thriving for women, and then provide a roadmap for countries to apply research-based policies and resource-based healthcare to support women and their families.

Guided by COO and Director of Global Health Policy and Programs, Dr. Alma Golden and the IWH International Health Council, the research team reviewed thousands of articles and guidelines and selected over 1,000 evidence-based resources to support recommendations that could be applied in almost any geographic or economic setting.

“Promoting lifespan health from conception to death, while incorporating all parameters of wellbeing, is unique to this Framework,” said Golden. “The dignity and worth of all people, from all walks of life and on every continent, is recognized.  Every nation, regardless of economic or governmental status, can use these high-impact, low-cost approaches to improve the health of women and their families. The research can support health policy and the resources can equip health providers. This is revolutionary in our field.”

The first section of the WOHF describes nine critical areas that are closely related to personal and community health that can be strengthened by good health policies and programs. Each topic is linked to current research and guidelines to equip both health policy-makers and health providers as they seek to serve women and families.  These topics include: Community Health Workers, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), Community-Wide Interventions, Healthy Marriages and Families, Psychological and Emotional Well-Being, Spiritual Well-Being, Child Health and Development, Adolescent Reproductive and Relationship Health, Responding to Natural and Man-Made Disasters and Crises. 

The second section of the WOHF supports health interventions for each age-group from the first 1,000 days (conception to age two) through late adulthood.  It identifies effective interventions that support personal and family health.  Many of these interventions, such as disease screening, can be delivered through community health workers. Other interventions, such as education or support groups, can be shared through schools or faith-based organizations. Appropriate referral to clinical care is emphasized along with the efficient and effective use of healthcare professionals and clinical facilities, especially in resource-limited environments.

“This Framework goes beyond what any prior women’s health frameworks have done by promoting holistic well-being,” said Huber. “Women value the health and safety of their families and communities — including stable relationships, safe pregnancies and healthy children — as well as their personal health. By seeing a woman in her entirety, with unique, inherent value and dignity — rather than merely according to her current health problems, we can better support women’s health around the world.”  

“I’ve seen how women in Uganda can benefit from holistic healthcare, and I’m grateful for the positive improvements this new framework will create,” said Museveni. “This valuable resource will pave the way for optimal health to be achieved for women and families in my country and beyond. I am proud to partner with the Institute for Women’s Health in launching its Women’s Optimal Health Framework.”

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About The Institute For Women’s Health

The Institute for Women’s Health is the only women’s health policy organization of its kind in the U.S. and possibly anywhere. IWH exists to promote the highest attainable health and well-being for women throughout every stage of their lives, and works to tackle the most pressing women’s health issues through honest discourse, targeted action, and empowered alliances. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., IWH engages both domestically and internationally to build coalitions in support of optimal women’s health. IWH works with governments, policymakers, think tanks, academics, health professionals, nongovernmental organizations, faith-based groups, corporations and all who share a common mission to see women thrive everywhere.


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