• September 20th, 2018
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NEAPACOH advocates bigger health budgets

National
National

George Sanzila Kampala-The Network of African Parliamentary Committees of Health (NEAPACOH) meeting that brought together lawmakers from parliamentary health committees wants African governments to spend more on health. Speaker of Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga, opened the recent NEAPACOH gathering that was attended by Namibian parliamentarians Gordthardt Kasuto and Jennifer van den Heever, both from the Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Social Development and Family Affairs. The meeting sought to address a number of challenges on reproductive health and family planning issues. Kadaga urged lawmakers as people’s representatives to advocate an increase in health budgets if Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be met – pillars upon which the gathering was anchored. At the previous NEAPACOH meeting held in 2016, Namibia committed to review its existing sexual reproductive health (SRH) policies in its efforts to increase access to SRH services among young people, given the high rate of teenage pregnancy. Statistics reveal that teenage pregnancy in Namibia stands at 19 percent among schoolgirls.   Namibia’s parliament is expected to provide feedback on progress made in compliance with the “Kampala call for action” – a resolution that was adopted at the meeting. Namibian lawmakers were expected to reveal, among others, the tabling of motions such as the expansion of medical clinics to all tertiary institutions with the main aim of reducing unwanted pregnancies, baby dumping and easy access to family planning services as some of the efforts made. Another equally important motion was to discuss the high rate of teenage pregnancy. Dr Chris Baryomunsi, a member of parliament and a minister of state for housing and urban development in Uganda, noted during his keynote address that one in 14 women in Africa is at risk of maternal death while contraceptive use is still very low. Many women lack information and services on reproductive health, resulting in lack of family planning choices. “Information and services should be available in order for people to decide on the number of children they would like to have. What is it that we are doing as MPs to make sure this problem is addressed?” Baryomunsi queried. He urged lawmakers to continue to be advocates for reproductive health and help enact, adopt and oversee the implementation of legislation that protects human rights and access to reproductive health. He further stated that the oversight function of parliament should be stepped up to make sure the executive implements planned reproductive health programmes as intended. On budget appropriations, he feels members of parliament are obliged to make sure adequate resources are allocated and utilized accordingly. “Programmes of reproductive health will only translate into action when adequate financial resources are allocated and utilised accordingly,” noted the Ugandan lawmaker. The NEAPACOH meeting, which began last Wednesday, ended on Thursday and was preceded by a capacity building training on parliamentary research. *George Sanzila works as chief information officer in the Division: Research, Information, Publications and Editorial Services at the National Assembly
2017-12-19 09:24:39 9 months ago
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