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Monthly Archive:

May2015

Sri Lanka Calls for #SRHR4ALL on #May28

May 28, 2015

Women and Media Collective, Sri Lanka

#May28 is the International Day of Action for Women’s Health. Today women’s rights activists from around the world advocate and mobilize in various ways to remind governments that #WomensHealthMatters, particularly with regard to the negotiations around the post-2015 development agenda.

Despite Sri Lanka’s impressive national health indicators, there are disparities that exist especially in the conflict-affected areas of the North and East, districts that are economically under-performing and the estate sector. This year we highlight forms of institutional violence that violate women’s SRHR including denial of access to sexual and reproductive health services.

Pakistan Calls for #SRHR4ALL on #May28

May 28, 2015

ShirkatGah Women’s Resource Centre, Pakistan

Status of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Pakistan

Pakistan launched its family planning programme in mid-1950’s and despite various other national programmes and policies that have been launched since then, achieving the MDGs and ICPD Programme of Action (PoA) commitments still look like a distant dream for Pakistan. According to Pakistan’s Millennium Development Goals Report in 2013, the country still has a very high maternal mortality ratio (276). The report also reveals that progress on indicators such as proportion of births attended by skilled birth attendants, contraceptive prevalence rate, and total fertility rate has been dismal.

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Challenges such as lack of a solid financial infrastructure to ensure universal provision of health services, a poor monitoring and evaluation mechanism of existing systems, political changes and fading commitments by the state plague Pakistan’s progress in the area of sexual and reproductive health services.

Access to Contraception and Safe Abortion Services

The findings of a national study, Post-Abortion Care in Pakistan, issued by Population Council
in 2013, show that Pakistan has made strides of progress in the area of sexual and reproductive health (SRH). However, there is still a long way
to go as a large proportion of women still have unmet need for contraception (as high as 20%, according to the latest PDHS) and safe abortion needs. A huge percentage of women are still experiencing post- abortion complications (estimated 15 per 1,000 women of reproductive age) and the contraception prevalence rate is still very low (approximate level of contraceptive use among married women aged 15-49 is as low as 30 percent).

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Recommendations

On May 28 International Day of Action for Women’s Health, we emphasize that #WomensHealthMatters in Pakistan as well as in the rest of the region and the world.

We call on our government, international organizations, UN agencies, civil society partners and relevant duty bearers to take the following actions:

  •  Recognise that gender-equality and universal sexual and reproductive rights are integral to sustainable social and economic development
and apply the human rights framework to address the stagnating SRHR indicators and proactively work to provide universal access to SRHR while upholding the rights and dignity of its citizens and addressing various inequities and inequalities.
  • Unequivocally endorse, sustain and scale up State’s resources to implement comprehensive intervention to ensure safe delivery for all births at home and in institutions by an effective referral system including Emergency Obstetric Care through registered trained TBAs, and to make information and affordable and quality care easily accessible for all women at all stages of their 
lifecycle and across location (home, community and health facilities). Introduce national and provincial policies on post-abortion care.
  • Review, amend and implement laws and policies to address the health needs of young people. Formulate adolescent-sensitive health programs and build awareness and capacity of service providers to meet young people’s health needs such as client centered counselling and health care. Provide comprehensive sexuality and RH education to young people.

 

  • Address the social determinants of health that impede women’s access to quality reproductive health services. A strong patriarchal society, deep rooted discriminatory attitudes, violence and fear of violence, harmful traditional practices, parallel legal systems are all deterrents towards achieving the goals outlined in the ICPD PoA.
  • Strengthen Health Systems Governance
to ensure accountability and transparency mechanisms at central and implementation level , working unison of bureaucracy and technocracy, prioritization of principles of health equity, evidence-based decision making and weaknesses in policy, planning, health information and surveillance units to increase effectiveness.
  • Institutionalize maternal death surveillance and institutionalize monitoring systems and annual reporting.
  • Ensure availability of affordable essential and non-essential drugs and regulate the quality, uniformity and accountability of services and pricing system of the private sector.

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Source: Pakistan Country Profile on Sexual and Reproductive Health by the ShirkatGah Women’s Resource Centre in Pakistan, supported by the European Union and in partnership with the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW)