Media urged to champion the cause of sexual and reproductive rights

By
Deborah Apetorgbor, GNA

Accra, Oct. 19, GNA
– Journalists in the country have been called to lead the campaign on Sexual and
Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) issues in the country.

This is to help ensure
that premium is placed on relating stories that advance the cause of women and
girls and to also ensure government lives up to its commitments.

At a training workshop
organized in Accra by the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa
Region (IPPF-AR) in association with the Planned Parenthood Association of
Ghana (PPAG), media practitioners were taken through a curriculum that was
designed to give them comprehensive insights into SRHR and its related impact
on the country’s development.

The workshop formed
part of an ongoing Right By Her Campaign that seeks to reinforce implementation
of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the
Rights of Women in Africa (christened the Maputo Protocol, adopted in 2003) and
the Maputo Plan of Action (MPoA) which is the implementation framework for the
Continental Policy Framework on SRHR, across Africa at the continental,
regional, national and sub-national levels.

Processes to achieve
this objective include strengthening the capacities of civil society
organisations (CSOs) in terms of knowledge on women and girls’ rights in SRHR
and in terms of advocacy strategies and capacity to meaningfully participate in
decision-making processes.

‘Right By Her’,
launched in Kenya in 2017 and more recently in Ghana, is a critical part of the
State of African Women Campaign project aimed at “contributing to secure,
realise and extending women’s rights enshrined in African Union (AU) policies
in African countries.”

It is premised on the
reality that amidst numerous continental and international commitments
undertaken by governments on the promotion of gender equality, women and girls’
rights, the dire conditions that prevail against women and hinder their
development still exist in no subtle forms.

The campaign is
focused greatly on enhancing CSO and other change agents’ potentials to have
the needed impact in their spheres of advocacy. The campaign emphasises four
topical areas, notably Gender-based Violence Against Women (GVAW) Harmful
practices (in particular child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation),
Reproductive Rights (SRH) as well as HIV and AIDS.

Included in the
training curriculum is a general mapping out of health reporting, sensitive
health issues affecting the continent on regional and national levels, policies
and regulations regarding health care and health systems, overview of regional
and international conventions ratified by various countries on the continent
such as the Maputo Protocols.

The course also
focused on the ‘Right By Her’ Campaign objectives of sexual and reproductive
health and rights, after which journalists were taken through needful insights
regarding reporting on epidemics, emergency outbreaks and Non-Communicable
Diseases (NCDs), health policies and more importantly avoiding the myths and
misconceptions in reporting health in a society especially ingrained in traditional
non-scientific beliefs.

Moreover, to achieve
the necessary impact from their communications, reporters were urged to
recognize the need to carefully consider cultural, gender and religious
sensitivity in their work, aspire to the highest ethical standards and be
skillful with the use of appropriate data and statistics in their deliveries.

Sexual and
reproductive health has been described as fundamental, so basic it is the first
to be encountered by anyone, as such the need to build on SRHR knowledge and
services designed to empower individuals to make informed decisions.

Reproduction, as
stressed by the Chief Executive of the National Population Council, Dr Leticia
Appiah at the workshop, should be done efficiently and should not undermine
production as the two unavoidably complement each other in the development
process of every society.

That reproduction is a
continuum automatically makes SRHR an inevitable part of human and social
development and experts have advised it should be approached, discussed and
communicated effectively to achieve the desired outcomes.

Dr Appiah said every
national effort is made with the population in mind, who are along some point
in the cycle of life beneficiaries, partners and consequently leaders of the
society. “Give out the information to the people so they can make informed
decisions because investing in SRHR is so important to have healthy childhoods,
adolescence and adulthood,” she noted.

GNA

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