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The State of the World’s Midwifery (SoWMy) 2014: A Universal Pathway. A Woman’s Right to Health takes its inspiration from the United Nations Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child initiative and his call to action in September 2013 to do everything possible to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and work towards the development and adoption of a post-2015 agenda based on the principle of universality. 

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Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a violation of human rights. Intimate partner violence is the most common form of VAWG (Morrison et al. 2004; Naved et al. 2004). According to findings from the WHO Multicountry Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence, prevalence of physical violence by an intimate partner ranges from 23 to 61 percent; sexual violence – from 10 to 59 percent; and physical or sexual violence or both – from 29 to 71 percent in developing countries (Garcia-Moreno et al. 2006). In Bangladesh, the national rate of physical violence perpetrated by a husband calculated from reports by men is as high as 58 percent (BDHS 2009).

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