Invest in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Category : Naya Blog
(Photo Courtesy Dance4lifeke)
Today the Third International Conference on Financing for Development kicked off in Addis Ababa with remarks from the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Presidents of Member States among other key speakers.
This high level event, happening in Africa for the first time, is a breath of fresh air and a turning point for a continent that is still playing second fiddle to many developed nations, mostly from Europe and America.
Ban Ki Moon in his address urged nations of the world not to let their people down by coming out with a weak outcome document that doesn’t reflect the spirit of urgency.
We hope that ask will be taken seriously by governments.
During a side event on sexual and reproductive health and rights, Tewodros Melesse, Director General, International Planned Parenthood Federation remarked that governments, development partners and civil society organizations have one common agenda- the betterment of the people.
After all nobody is happy when a woman dies while giving birth, Neither is anybody happy when a young girl hemorrhages to death after attempting unsafe abortions.
Where the disagreement comes in is how to realize this vision.
Do we just reduce the cost of delivery in hospitals or do we go deeper and ensure comprehensive sexuality education and couple it with access to services and a nonrestrictive policy and legal environment?
Wouldn’t we rather invest more in curative medicine rather than just focusing on prevention and promotive?
Whereas prioritizing one sector over the other is like choosing between a father and a mother, the need to invest in health especially sexual and reproductive health and rights as a cross cutting theme can never be overemphasized.
Africa particularly, must move from an era of unfocussed spending and resort to smart economics.
A study by National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) and Population Reference Bureau (2012) estimated that by investing 5.3 billion Kenya Shillings on contraception, the government would have been able to save 8.6 billion Shillings on education, 5.6 billion Kenya Shillings on maternal health, 2.8 billion in immunization, 2.7 billion shillings on water and sanitation and 600 million shillings on malaria.
This would have translated to a saving of 20.3 billion shillings by this year, even much more than the initial investment!
But investing in the health of young people and women should not just be for the sake of realizing demographic dividends.
Nations need to invest in young people as a basic human right.
This investment must also take note that young people are not a single homogenous groups but have different characteristics, needs and capacities.
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