The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Africa Region Saturday December 12, 2020 joined the rest of the world in celebrating the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) day.
The goal of UHC is to ensure that all people have access to high-quality health services without suffering financial hardship.
An IPPF statement says a critical step to achieving this goal is the full realization of people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) especially, among women and girls.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF Africa Region maintained that women and girls are unique but vulnerable, noting the success of UHC cannot be fully achieved until all women and girls can access the sexual reproductive health services they need.
IPPF said each day, more than 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The IPPF quotes the World Health Organization as saying, 94% of all maternal deaths occur in low and lower middle-income countries, 218 million women in these countries have an unmet need for modern contraception according to the Guttmacher Institute.
It also quotes Guttmacher Institute as also stating that 35 million women have abortions in unsafe conditions, and a further 133 million do not receive the treatment they need for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.
The IPPF mentioned Cervical cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, as a great challenge, with nearly 90% of the 311,000 deaths worldwide in 2018 occurring in these countries.
These figures highlight the profound need to invest more in SRHR, the International Planned Parenthood Federation said.
According to IPPF, lack of high-quality sexual and reproductive health care undoubtedly puts women at risk for negative reproductive health outcomes.
It said weak health outcomes are strongly interrelated with gender inequalities, discrimination, violence and lack of SRHR information and services, recommending that SRHR is integrated into UHC to protect gains and accelerate progress towards various goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The integration of SRHR into UHC requires addressing the multiple legal and sociocultural barriers that limit access to services and prevent women and girls from fulfilling their right to health, the IPPF disclosed.
The IPPF said though governments are responsible for determining their own path towards UHC, this must be done in accordance with agreed human rights treaties and commitments, including respecting and promoting SRHR.
IPPF Africa Region recommitted to addressing the challenges that impede the achievement of UHC, with particular focus on those pertaining to SRHR.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation, Africa implore all African governments, donors and partners to call for greater investment in SRHR, and ensure that a comprehensive package of SRHR interventions is a fundamental part of national UHC policies, strategies and programs.
About IPPF Africa Region the International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and the leading sexual and reproductive health and rights advocacy voice in the region.
Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa.