UNFPA schools members of MCAN on Ghana’s ICPD+25 commitments and Nairobi’s summit 2019

MCAN members at UNFPA's orientation
MCAN members at UNFPA's orientation.

With respect to accurate reportage and proper dissemination of news stories for public education, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has schooled members of the Media and Communications Advocacy Network (MCAN) on Ghana’s ICPD+25 commitments and Nairobi’s summit 2019.

Governments of Kenya, Denmark, and UNFPA, organised a summit from 12th – 14th November, 2019, at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi – Kenya, to mobilise action to fast track progress on the ICPD Programme of Action.

It also seeks to accelerate efforts to achieve the goals of the 1994 ICPD and endorsement of a set of voluntary global commitments centered on; Three Transformational Goals which are
Zero unmet need for family planning, Zero preventable maternal deaths, and Zero gender-based violence and harmful practices against women, girls and the youth to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), is a meeting held in Cairo in 1994 where 179 governments adopted a revolutionary Programme of Action and called for women’s reproductive health and rights to take centre stage in national and global development efforts.

Objectively, the ICPD sort to empower women with choice through expanded access to education, health information and services, skills development, and employment creation.

In her presentation at the media orientation on post Nairobi agenda, 2021 Population and Health Census (PHC) and status of Adolescent Girls Programme (AGP) implementation, Efua Turkson, Consultant at UNFPA, noted that, in 2014, African Union Summit adopted the Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and Development (AADPD) at the Africa Regional Conference on Population and Development under the theme “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend in Africa.”

The AADPD was purposed to reaffirm the region’s commitment to the International Conference on Population and Development-Programme of Action (ICPD-PoA).

The AADPD serves as a framework for addressing issues of population and development and as well as provide region-specific guidance on population and development for the full implementation of the ICPD-PoA, Beyond 2014 in Africa.

Throwing more light on the AADPD declaration, She said, 88 commitments were grouped around seven pillars namely; Dignity and Equality, Health, Place and Mobility, Governance, Data and Statistics, International Cooperation/Partnerships and Implementation.

She further disclosed that, in 2018, with the support of UNFPA, Ghana undertook the review of five years implementation of the AADPD, essentially the review of twenty-five years implementation of the ICPD-PoA.

Dr. Esi Awotwi, Public Health (SRH) and Development Management specialist at UNFPA, in a presentation enlightened the participants on the Adolescent Girls Program (AGP).

Dr. Awotwi, disclosed that, Adolescent Girls account for 21.7 per cent of the
female population and about half of the 5.5 million Adolescent population, constituting about half of adolescent population in Ghana.

She underscored the need to up the fight on Teenage Pregnancy, Attrition from school, Exposure to violence, Child Marriage (1 in 5 girls), and Unmet need for contraception. Saying, “these challenges have seen a decline over the past decade, but remain high overall, with notable differences between regions.”

However, She explained that, expanded investment in the systems and services across sectors and at the decentralized levels remains imperative, to sustain the gains and further increase the access to sexual and reproductive education, health, and rights for all adolescent girls.

Dubbed, “Empowering Adolescent Girls through Improved Access to Reproductive Health Education & Rights Based Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Services in Ghana” started in 2018, and was expected to have ended in December, 2020, but, based on some interventions made, it’s been extended to further run from 2021 to 2022.

Dr. Awotwi, emphasized that, “the key thing to note is that, the programme has a transformation-centered, innovation-based and gender-responsive set of interventions rolled out in Ghana with funding support from the Government and people of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.”

Its operational areas include a total of 56 districts in 11 regions (i. e.36 for phase 1, and additional 20 for phase 2), serving as the primary sites of joint programme intervention.

UNFPA, She said, is currently operating in 30 districts in phase 1 and will expand to 40 districts in phase 2.

“The ultimate outcome of the programme is that; Adolescent girls in Ghana including the most vulnerable are empowered through provision of, and access to, gender-responsive reproductive health education and youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning and contraception,” Dr. Esi Awotwi, noted.

However, expected result by the year 2022, is to reach out to 600,000 young people with crucial gender responsive
reproductive health education; 200,000 adolescent girls provided with SRH services including contraceptives; 12,000 parents and caregivers have also increased confidence, age and gender awareness in discussing SRHR issues with adolescent girls and boys; 13,000 women and girls who experience SGBV or are at risk of SGBV are provided with quality, integrated essential services.

Cumulative Achievements so far
Young people with RHE – 125,539 (92% Females)
Adolescents reached with SRH Services – 118,705
Duty bearers:
• FBO Leaders – 932
• Traditional Leaders – 551
• Parents – 3,318
Marginalised girls:
• Kayaye – 1,659
• With Disability – 1,115
• Refugee – 483 (2019)
• Legal Literacy (In and Out
of School – 61,498 (2019)
• Mentorship – 10,859.

Speaking on the 2021 Population and Housing Census: the role of the media, Mr. Eric Okrah, National Programme Analyst, Monitoring and Evaluation at UNFPA, said, “census is a process of the planning, collecting the data, analyzing the data, publishing the data, and more importantly, disseminating that data.”

According to him, census was first conducted in Ghana in the year 1890, where the were colonies and the northern territory. “At that time, Ghana’s population was about 6 million,” he disclosed.

He emphasizing that, “since then, censuses have been conducted after every 10 years, until it was disrupted by the second world war. Then in 1958, the United Nations decided to have modern censuses, dubbed UN principles and guidelines on modern censuses. These guidelines are principles every country expects to follow. So, in 1960, Ghana conducted its first modern census, then in 1970, 1984, 2000, and 2010. 2021 according to him will be Ghana’s sixth post-independence census and the third PHC.”

Census, he said is a very expensive venture, however, it is very important to conduct it for the purposes of accurate projections and better economic management of every country.

The 2021 Population and Housing Census is set to take place in April and May and it will be the first digital census in Ghana. “It going to involve the use of Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing devices like tablets, to electronically capture data and Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS) for recording coordinates of structures.

Mr. Eric Okrah, emphasized that, “Collecting data on tablets and syncing it on daily bases to the server is an efficient data collection strategy that reduces the time spent in processing the data and also allows for realtime data quality monitoring, whereas the GPS records also ensures the complete coverage of all structures, households and localities.

Financed by the UNFPA, the 1-day orientation which took place in Accra, at the Crystal Palm Hotel, on 14th December, 2020, witnessed 20 MCAN members and resource persons from the UNFPA.

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