reproductive System

The ninth African conference on sexual health and rights (ACSHR2020) wrapped up on Friday with delegates adopting a communique to help rally governments and donors towards support for the reproductive health of women and girls living in urban informal settlements.

More than 1,000 participants including lawmakers, policymakers, researchers and campaigners attended the Nairobi forum to explore new strategies that can be adopted to improve the sexual health of disadvantaged women and girls in Africa.

Uwemedimo Esiet, convenor of the ACSHR 2020 said it reignited a conversation on the need to leverage on policy reforms, innovative financing and political goodwill to boost access to quality and affordable reproductive health service for vulnerable demographics like women and youth.

“The conference was a call to action by governments, donors and civil society to help reverse high maternal mortalities in Africa linked to unsafe abortions and unattended births,” said Esiet.

He said the resolutions adopted at the end of the five days forum will be presented to regional blocs to lobby for funding required to revitalize the reproductive health agenda in Africa through access to contraceptives, safer choices for terminating pregnancies and improved mid-wife services.

Kenya in conjunction with multilateral institutions hosted the Pan African forum whose theme was “advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls in urban informal settlements.”

The participants identified female genital cut, early marriages, HIV and Aids, unsafe abortions and gender-based violence as major bottlenecks to the realization of sexual and reproductive health among women and girls living in Africa’s mushrooming urban slums.

The Nairobi forum adopted resolutions to help galvanize key stakeholders towards support for interventions that could minimize reproductive health challenges which have worsened poverty and social exclusion among disadvantaged women and girls in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“We need a broad-based coalition of actors to take action on poor reproductive health outcomes for women and girls living in overcrowded urban slums in Africa,” said the communique.

It said that targeted interventions like enforcement of laws, vocational training and job creation are key to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of poor health, abuse and discrimination.

Memory Kachambwa, the executive director of Nairobi-based African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)said that affirmative action combined with robust financing is key to boost the availability of reproductive health services for women and youth living in urban slums.

“Our leaders must be responsive to reproductive health challenges facing women and girls in urban slums by allocating adequate resources to expand access to modern contraceptives and other safe motherhood options,” said Kachambwa.

She said that investments in quality reproductive health services for marginalized women and girls will have positive impacts on sustainable development goals related to poverty, maternal health and gender parity. Enditem


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