Hon. Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem
Hon. Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem

Ghana’s Member of Parliament (MP) for Binduri in the Upper East Region, Hon. Dr. Robert Kuganab-Lem has called on African governments to empower women and girls to assert their sexual and reproductive rights.

According to him issues about women and girls sexual and reproductive health rights have been relegated to the background for far too long.

He said, “In most of our societies, women eat the least and last yet, we are all aware that they do the hard work. You cannot work when you are not well nourished. You must eat well to be able to work well and where you eat the least and you eat the last, how do you work, how do you become productive?”

Hon. Dr. Kuganab-Lem, who is a former lecturer in Health Economic, Health Policy and Communications, University for Development Studies, Tamale Campus stressed on the need to empower women and girls to assert their sexual and reproductive health rights.

“We can do a lot and that is highlighting the issues and the things that are done in the room in the open. Now with internet facilities, radio and television, with rural electrification, a lot of communities are becoming enlightened and it is through this that we can empower our women to be able to stand on their feet and determine what is good for themselves.

There is a lot we will do to ensure that the situation of the woman changes for the better and that the young girls who are coming up do not fall into the pit the society has created for them and that is through empowerment, education and availability of the services that they need. It is one thing talking about it and where there is no services, it becomes a problem,” the MP stressed.

Hon. Dr. Kuganab-Lem, who is also a former Deputy Minister for the Upper East Region under the erstwhile John Mahama administration will join other parliamentarians from around the world to participate in this year’s Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Forum 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The parliamentary delegation will take place from January 29, to February 2, 2020.

The Ghanaian legislator, who is a member of the Global Parliamentary Alliance (GPA) on Health, Rights and Development is attending the forum under the invitation of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.

He has played an active role in the activities of the GPA and has delivered several papers in some of their forums in various countries.

The European Parliamentary Forum (EPF), in a letter addressed to the Ghanaian MP said, “We believe your voice and unique perspective will have a meaningful impact on the effort to catalyse progress toward UHC.”

Universal Health Coverage is about ensuring that people have access to the healthcare they need without suffering financial hardship. It also helps drive better health and development outcomes.

Parliamentarians are said to be in an excellent position to contribute towards ensuring universal health coverage.

By participating in the forum, MPs will be equipped with the information they require to be impactful actors in support of universal health coverage.

The forum, which will be held at the Centara Grand & Central World Convention Centre in the capital of Thailand, will be under the theme: “Accelerating Progress Towards UHC.”

Investment into health systems, according to the organisers is key to inclusive and sustainable growth. Most countries are said to have integrated universal health coverage as a goal in their national health strategies yet, progress in translating these commitments into expanded domestic resources for health, effective development assistance, and ultimately equitable and quality health services and increased financial protection have been slow.

Countries that will be able to achieve their universal health coverage targets by 2030 will eliminate preventable maternal and child deaths, strengthen resilience to public health emergencies, reduce financial hardship linked to illness, and strengthen the foundations for long-term economic growth.

The UHC Forum among others aims to galvanize the health sector, countries, development partners, civil society, and the private sector towards the common goal of universal health coverage, including pandemic preparedness, and highlighting country success and breakthrough experiences to accelerate the progress of UHC.

The agenda will include a mix of plenary and parallel sessions with expected attendance high-level policy makers and experts including representatives from Ministries of Finance and Health from low and middle-income countries, experts from bi- and multi-lateral institutions, civil society organisations, private sector institutions, and academic institutions. Enditem

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