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The East African : Nov 17th 2014
32 The EastAfrican OUTLOOK NOVEMBER 15-21,2014 D E VE LO PME N T More girls, women now taking up modern family planning methods In 2013, the numbe≥ inc≥eased by 20pc in Rwanda and Bu≥undi, with the majo≥ity using injectables By CHRISTABEL LIGAMI Special Correspondent T he number of women and girls using modern con- traception has increased significantly in in the past one year, according to a new Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) report. In 2013, the number increased by 20 per cent in Rwanda and Burundi, with the majority using injectables as the most preferred method of contraception. The report, “Partnership in Progress,” credits partner countries for the increase in modern contraceptive use. “Countries are stepping up their commitments to provide girls and women with the information and tools they need to plan their families and their futures,” said Chris Elias, president of global development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and co-chair of FP2020’s Reference Group. “We must use the data and les- sons learned from the past two years to focus on high-impact interventions that unlock a virtuous circle of prosperity for families and entire communities.” In 2012, Kenya committed it- self to review policies that impede access to contraceptives at community-level health facilities. The Ministry of Health has followed through by issuing re- A woman receives a family planning implant at a clinic in Kenya. Picture: Sarah Ooko vised guidelines allowing community health workers to offer women Depo-Provera. The government has initi- ated reforms to give the Kenya Medical Supply Agency (Kemsa) autonomy from the Ministry of Health. In order to increase access to family planning services, Kenya has scaled up its health voucher system. After the re-launch of the family planning campaign in February 2012, the government conducted awareness activities at the county level to build support and create demand for family planning. The government is also working towards having one youth empowerment centre in each constituency to serve as a one-stop shop for youth friendly information, including family planning. In 2012, there were over 70 youth empowerment centres; now there are 118, with 28 still under construction. Uganda’s Ministry of Health has pledged to increase the allocation for family planning supplies to $6.9 million for the 2014/2015 fiscal year. It has also successfully mobilised an additional $5 million in donor financing from development partners, primarily UNFPA, USAid and DfID. The country’s National Popu- lation Council Bill was signed into law in June and will create a new government body to oversee the country’s population, reproductive health and family planning policies. The government is negotiat- ing a voucher programme as a form of demand-side financing for family planning and safe motherhood services among the poor while a National Health In- ACTIVITIES Kenya conducts awareness activities at the county level to build support and create demand for family planning. In Uganda, the Ministry of Health has pledged to increase the allocation for family planning supplies to $6.9 million In Tanzania, UNFPA and USAid, working with implementing partners are running clinics, outreach programmes and awareness campaigns. surance Bill is under consideration by the Cabinet. The Ministry of Health has in- creased its staffing levels while mentoring of health workers to offer reproductive health services is ongoing. Village health teams are being mobilised to provide family planning — including injectable contraceptives — in rural areas, Youth-friendly services have been scaled up to 50 per cent of the government’s level IV health centres and 100 per cent of district hospitals. The government also reports that, with the assistance of its development partners, support has been provided for midwife training and recruitment. In Tanzania, UNFPA is sup- porting the Sharpened One Plan through advocacy for family planning, contraceptive procurement and supply, and service delivery, including youth-oriented interventions and mobile outreach in remote areas. On its part, USAid is involved in contraceptive security, local capacity building, service delivery, advocacy and demand creation, logistics management and monitoring and evaluation. Implementing partners such as Marie Stopes Tanzania, EngenderHealth and Population Services International are on the frontlines, running clinics, outreach programmes and awareness campaigns. The report explains that the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning added momentum to decades of efforts to provide access to modern contraception and reaffirm the right of all women and girls to decide freely and for themselves whether, when, or how many children to have. “Commitments made to FP2020 by developing country governments and the donor community are translating into real progress, highlighting the importance of mobilising resources and further strengthening the focus on adolescents and girls. As the global community works to shape the post-2015 development agenda, the need to maintain and build upon FP2020’s first two years of achievements is crucial,” says the report. In 2013, donor governments provided $1.3 billion for family planning programmes, nearly 20 per cent more than in 2012. Generally in 2013, 8.4 million additional women and girls were using modern contraception compared with 2012 across the 69 FP2020 focus countries. Region’s food policies not ‘sma≥t enough’ to fight climate change By FRED OLUOCH Special Correspondent EAST AFRICAN countries need policies on food trade that address climate change. At a recent conference in Bujum- bura in Burundi, it was revealed that the East African Community Food Security Action Plan falls short when it comes to climate change. Titled “Promoting Agriculture- Climate-Trade Linkages in the East African Community,” the conference revealed that not all EAC partner states have concrete policy frameworks that deal with climate change. In addition, intra-EAC trade in food is far lower than that with countries outside those not from the region. According to Dickson Poloji, a policy analyst with the East African Business Council, intra-EAC trade in food only accounts for 13 per cent of the total food trade. Much of this is attributed to non-tariff barriers that hinder the transfer of food from surplus food production zones to areas with deficits. Also, some countries in the region still have export bans on food commodities and products intended for consumption within the EAC region. The conference noted that while implementing the EAC Common Market Protocol, the first priority should be given to free movemement of food within the region to ensure food security. It will also ensure that the major- ity of the EAC citizens, engaged in the production of food commodities are not adversely affected by unpredictable weather patterns. EAC Principal Oficer for Environ- ment and Natural Resources Wivine Ntamubano said that the EAC Climate Change Policy Framework 2011-2015 provides an effective and integrated response to regional climate change adaptation. “However, it is focused on in- EAC climate change strategy is more donor-driven than country-driven; thus the implementation is wanting. vestment as a remedy for climate change. We need to consider the balance between economic gains, environmental impacts and social effects,” she said. The meeting noted that even though the EAC climate change strategy is to enhance a co-ordinated regional response to climate change, it was more donor-driven than country-driven and thus the implementation was wanting. According to Paul Isabirye of the Ugandan Focal Point on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, it is not the work of the EAC Secretariat to implement climate change policy but the partner states’. Norman Ojamuge, of the Ugandan Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, said that the Ugandan national trade policy is silent on issues of climate change. Burundi MP Diomède Ntanga- majeri noted that the country’s climate early warning system, which was established in 1992, has not worked since 1998 after the Japanese grant ran out. The biggest challenge is for the EAC partner states do adopt climate-smart agriculture to strengthen food security and improve farmers’ livelihoods This includes agro-forestry, in- tegrated pest management, crop rotation, mulching and residue management that with time can sustainably increase the productivity of smallholder farmers.
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