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08.12.2011 Health

First Ladies call for increase in budget allocations to address family planning needs

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Dakar, Dec. 8, GNA – The First Lady of Senegal, Mrs Viviane Wade has called on governments to increase budgetary allocations to family planning and reproductive health at national levels in line with the Abuja Declaration.

She said African women should also be included at key family planning and reproductive discourses at both national and international levels.

Speaking during the First Ladies Session at the just-ended Second International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Mrs Wade said African women had realised that family planning was a fundamental component of maternal health and should be repositioned.

The Session on the theme “The 'C' Word-Contraception and Family Planning in Africa: Improving Youth Access”, was jointly organised by the African Women Leaders Network, African Women's Development Fund and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

Mrs Wade said it was unfortunate that African women always bore the brunt of maternal health and should be treated as equal partners in the formulation of policies that established good practices.

She reiterated the need to focus on the youth and address their reproductive health needs, adding, “If we are able to do this, then we will be meeting the MDGs which is very closer”.

Mrs Wade called on governments to ensure that there was an increase in the stock of contraceptive supplies, increase in voluntary counseling and testing services, create more awareness and mutual strengthening and structuring of existing activities.

Namibian First Lady, Mrs Penehupifo Pohamba, called for the establishment of youth and adolescents friendly facilities to provide services to meet their reproductive needs.

She advocated for more lobbying to ensure that more budgets were allocated to the work of providing family planning and reproductive services to women and young adolescents and ensure that family planning activities were rolled out in rural areas to ensure the attainment of MDGs.

Madam Maria da Luz Guebuza, First Lady of Mozambique, reiterated the need for governments to be proactive and ensure the security of commodities, “So that health facilities do not run out of stock of contraceptives”.

Mr Stephen O'Brien, British International Development Minister who launched seven contraceptive security fact sheets developed by IPPF, expressed Britain's concern in ensuring that women and young adolescents' contraceptive concerns were addressed.

He pledged Britain's continuous support in ensuring that MDGs 4 and 5 were met by 2015 and beyond.