Reproductive Health Should Be A Top Priority
World Leaders especially the Open Working Group who has been tasked with developing the sustainable development goals also known as the post 2015 agenda have been urged to speak out for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) by ensuring that it is included in the health goal.
According to SRHR Advocate, Raphael Godlove Ahenu Junior, per their draft report released so far by the group, they have taken out SRHR out of the health goal, so it means there is no SRHR including family planning targets, other than maternal mortality and essential medicines.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting with the press in Sunyani, Mr. Ahenu Junior who is the Founder and CEO of Global Media Foundation, human rights media advocacy organization working in Africa said even though the SRHR is mentioned under the Gender goal, this is not enough.
He noted that the effects of omitting SRHR and family planning in 2000 from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were catastrophic, saying ‘between 2001 and 2006, resource flows for family planning declined by one third.
This funding gap, according to SRHR Advocate contributed to high rates of unmet need for family planning, and contributed to unnecessary maternal mortality.
He said ‘in 2007 we saw universal access to reproductive health introduced as a target under MDG 5b, and it was until after 2006 that we finally saw a reversal in maternal mortality rates. Although progress has been made in recent years, the work has only just begun’.
Mr Ahenu Junior revealed that currently 222 million women worldwide have an unmet need for family planning, only a three per cent reduction on the number of women with unmet need in 1990.
The CEO explained that, to reverse this tide mortality and morbidity and to stand a chance of realizing sustainable development for all, SRHR, access to family planning and RH commodities that save lives must be included in the SDGs.
This, according to him, will not only to improve health outcomes, but to strengthen societies and increase economic growth.
Mr. Ahenu Junior pointed out that failure to make changes in the post 2015 agenda to sexual and reproductive health and rights would represent a rolling back of the existing MDG framework and make it difficult to achieve meaning and sustainable development.
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