Renewed Focus On Responses to Reproductive Health

THE SADC Parliamentary Forum through its Sexual Reproductive Health Rights, HIV and AIDS Governance (SRHR, HampAG) programme has commissioned a baseline survey to strengthen the capacity of SADC national parliaments to respond to SRHR, HampAG issues.

Funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the programme aims to build the capacity of SADC female parliamentarians to support initiatives to promote SRHR, HampAG responses.

It will initially be implemented in seven countries: Angola, Lesotho, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe with a view to replicate its successes in other SADC countries.

Moses Magadza, public relations officer at SADC PF has said that the regional body has enlisted the services of the Health Economics and HIV-AIDS Research Division (HEARD) based at the University of KwaZulu Natal to conduct baseline studies in the selected countries to appreciate the current levels of knowledge, attitudes, practices and other variables related to SRHR, HampAG issues.

Expectations are that information gleaned through the baseline studies, which started last month and will be conducted over two months, will inform programme implementation strategies and also provide a basis for its monitoring and evaluation.

As part of the baseline study the HEARD team and staff of SADC PF will conduct in-depth interviews and focus group discussions in selected countries.

Additionally, they will study various documents that have implications for SRHR or HIV-AIDS responses, including national constitutions and legislation. Parliamentary Committee meeting agendas, minutes and reports of discussions and decisions national policies, plans and budgets, government declarations, addresses by head of state national programme reviews, national surveys, and expenditure reports parliamentarian capacity-building programmeactivity reports any organograms and process charts or descriptions of the national policy-making and decision-making structure and processes will also be examined.

“It is expected that the baseline study will also give stakeholders an opportunity to point out key issues and priorities related to SRHR, HampAG issues as well as to be involved in planning strategies going forward,” Magadza said.

Last week the researchers visited Zambia and met with several stakeholders that included parliamentarians who are part of the Zambian Women’s Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) to appreciate gaps and opportunities for strengthening related interventions.

Source : The Namibian