Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Resolutions for the Regional Meeting of Parliamentary Committees on Health in East and Southern Africa, 16-18 September 2008, Kampala, Uganda

The Regional Meeting of Parliamentary Committees on Health in East and Southern Africa, Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda September 16-18 2008, gathered members of parliamentary committees responsible for health from twelve countries in East and Southern Africa, with sixteen technical, government and civil society and regional partners to promote information exchange, facilitate policy dialogue and identify key areas of follow up action to advance health equity and sexual and reproductive health in the region.

Representatives from parliamentary committees agreed to a number of resolutions, including commitments they will pursue for the next two months, and the next year. Of particular interest to advocates for SRHR is the agreement that “parliaments must work towards national, regional and international commitments made to protect and advance the right to health and the commitment to equity in health, primary health care and sexual and reproductive heath rights (SRHR) at all levels in East and Southern Africa” including the 2000 African Union Heads of state Abuja declaration and Plan of Action and the Maputo Plan of Action (2006), which work within the framework of the commitments and plans made in relation to the Millennium Development Goals and the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

In particular, the group noted, “the importance of implementing the Maputo Plan of Action to enhance SRHR to enable governments to achieve population goals to provide the necessary conditions for economic and social empowerment and development” and resolved to “ensure that such comprehensive SRHR services include Reproductive Health supplies (for commodity security), government funding for antiretrovirals (ARV) for adults and children, community mobilization on SRHR that involves men, especially in vulnerable communities and for adolescents and youth and education of girl children.”

And within the coming year, the group pledged to “prepare and make budget submissions that . . .Include necessary resource allocations for SRHR and for RH supplies (for commodity security)” and “obtain national population and reproductive health policies and national action plans and request report on progress in their funding and implementation.

The full resolution document is posted on the PPD ARO website at:

News Article: MPs Want More Investment in Maternal Health

MPs Want More Investment in Maternal Health
The Monitor (Kampala)
24 September 2008
Posted to the web 24 September 2008

By Evelyn Lirri

When members of parliament from 13 countries across east and southern Africa gathered in Kampala last week to deliberate on health issues affecting the continent, one thing that came out forcefully was the health of mothers and children.

The MPs who were drawn from parliamentary committees of health and social services from the countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Swaziland others discussed the challenges affecting the health sector in their various countries, urging for more investment, particularly in maternal health and equity in health.

Dr Jotham Musinguzi, the African regional Director for Partners in Population and Development (PPD), an intergovernmental alliance of 22 developing countries that hosted the meeting painted a bleak picture of the health status in sub Saharan Africa.

He said that while 25 percent of the global disease burden is in the region, only one percent is spent on health. As a result, he said, the region is characterised by poor reproductive health indices, high HIV/Aids and food insecurity among other problems.

Mothers die of preventable illnesses
Maternal mortality indices across the African continent are still high and countries could fail to meet MDG targets related to health unless issues of reproductive health security are addressed.

PPD Executive Director, Mr Harry Jooseery said reproductive health and population issues have been neglected.

"Until we deal with the population problem, stabilise and produce a quality population, we are not going to resolve any of our problems.

The well being of a nation is how much a country has invested in health and education," he said.

Health Minister Dr Stephen Mallinga said that one of the greatest challenges facing developing countries was poor health particularly for women and children.

He said that reproductive health issues have in recent years not received the importance and priority they deserve yet it is central to poverty eradication.

"A woman's lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth in sub Saharan Africa is one in 16 while the risk in developed countries is one in 3,800," Dr Mallinga said.

According to the health minister, the rate at which mothers die from haemorrhage, infection due to lack of antibiotics and complications was absurd. He added that cases that necessitates a caesarean can significantly be reduced through access to prenatal care, skilled attendance at births and emergency obstetric care.

Free bleeding medication
Dr Mallinga said one of the things the ministry was doing was to the introduction of a drug called misoprostol, which can help in preventing women from bleeding after birth, which he said is the leading cause of maternal mortality in Uganda.

Misoprostol tablet, which Dr Mallinga said is already available in health centres will be given free of charge to women who experience bleeding after birth.

Bleeding after birth remains a great health risk for women not only in Uganda but the African continent.

Uganda's maternal mortality rate, according to the 2006 demographic and health survey stands at 435 for every 100,000 live births.

Besides the misoprostol tablet, the government is also in the process of launching a new roadmap to accelerate the reduction of maternal mortality.

The Parliamentary Social Services Committee in August 2008 presented to parliament a report, among others recommending that maternal/reproductive health be prioritised and resources mobilised to address funding gaps.


Copyright © 2008 The Monitor. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

10 Key Factors Contribute to Successful FP Programs

Family Planning Professionals Identify 10 Key Factors Contributing to Successful Programs (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Baltimore, MD—A well-trained, supervised, and motivated staff is one of the most important elements of success in family planning programming, according to the latest issue of Population Reports, "Elements of Success in Family Planning Programming" from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Obtaining an adequate budget is one of the most difficult elements for family planning programs to achieve. Although proper funding in and of itself will not guarantee program success, inadequate funding of programs will ensure their failure.

The report is based on a 2007 poll of nearly 500 health care professionals around the world who identified the top 10 elements most important to the success of family planning programs. The elements range from ensuring client-centered care to offering affordable services to implementing effective communication strategies. The Population Reports issue synthesizes online discussions about these elements and highlights program experiences, best practices, and evidence-based guidance derived from nearly six decades in international family planning.

“The impact of family planning programs over the past five decades is tremendous,” according to co-authors Catherine Richey and Ruwaida Salem. “But programs today are still facing challenges.” According to the report an estimated half of all pregnancies are unplanned or unintended. Preventing these unintended pregnancies has the potential to avert about one-third of maternal deaths and nearly 10% of childhood deaths.

Programs must also expand to serve growing numbers of clients. Between 2000 and 2015 the number of contraceptive users worldwide is expected to increase by over 40% due to both population growth and larger proportions using contraception. Coordinating efforts among the many diverse groups of stakeholders, including governments, donors, and service delivery and communication organizations, is key to ensuring that resources are sufficient, applied where most needed, and used efficiently, with minimal duplication of effort.

Family planning professionals can apply best practices and lessons learned to design, carry out, and scale up good-quality programs. The lessons identified in this report can help managers of these programs, donor agency staff, policy makers, and other family planning professionals to plan new programs, improve existing programs, and prepare for future developments and challenges.

The report’s companion Web site,, serves as home base for a virtual community of family planning professionals around the world. Members can find resources, tailor information to their specific areas of interest, engage in discussions, and network with colleagues. An electronic learning course on the topic is also available at

For more information, contact Ruwaida Salem at

Find This Report and Related Resources Online:

The full-text version of this 28-page Population Reports issue is available at

For a listing of all Population Reports issues online, go to Population Reports is published three times a year in English, French, and Spanish by the INFO Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs. The INFO Project receives support from the U.S. Agency for International Development.