African governments challenged to keep promises to improving women’s health
Dr Eunice Brookman-Amissah, Vice President of Ipas Africa, has challenged African governments to keep the numerous promises made to improve the health of women.
She said African governments had made promises to women through international commitments and regional agreements such as the Maputo Protocol and Plan of Action and it was time to translate those promises into actions.
“If they truly value women’s health and lives, they must keep their promises”, she added.
Dr Brookman-Amissah, who was a former Minister of Health in Ghana, challenged African leaders at the second international conference on Family Planning here in Dakar on Friday.
The conference was attended by over 2,200 researchers, program managers, clinicians, parliamentarians, policy makers and jurists, sharing research, best practices, and progress on national strategies to deliver family planning services, with the ultimate goal being universal access to family planning.
Participants also examined cutting edge research and programs that help to advance the health and wealth of families and nations worldwide.
The Bill and Melinda Gates, Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Government of Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, along with international including UNFPA, World Bank, World Health Organisation and USAID co-hosted the Conference on “Family Planning: Research and Best Practices”.
Dr Brookman-Amissah noted that there had been important policy improvements related to reducing unsafe abortion in Africa and cited Ethiopia, Kenya, and several francophone countries as examples, adding countries such as Ghana, South Africa and Zambia had also made new commitments to scale-up safe abortions services.
Ms Elizabeth Magire, President of Ipas, said family planning and programme providers had a duty to deal with contraceptive failure to ensure that each woman experiencing an unwanted pregnancy received counseling.
She called on governments, donors and NGOs to take decisive actions to end the cycle of unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, which has a devastating effect on Africa.
She reiterated that millions of women in Africa and developing world would continue to die needlessly if the global family planning community failed to live up to their responsibility of helping women with unwanted pregnancies.