The 13th NEAPACOH Meeting – Held on the subject of Sustained Programs for the Achievement of ICPD Goals and the SDGs: The Role of Parliamentarians
Just like every year, and now the thirteenth year-round, Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO), in conjunction with the Network of African Parliamentary Committees of Health (NEAPACOH) and partners, organized a two days meeting that took place on 28 and 29 October 2021. This is the second year that this meeting is organized in a hybrid fashion allowing parliamentarians in Uganda to attend physically, while participants from the rest of the continent and beyond participate virtually. This meeting was supported by the National Population Council (NPC) of Uganda, Population Action International (PAI), the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) and United Nations Sexual and Reproductive Health Agency (UNFPA). Participants were drawn from sixteen countries including; Benin, Burundi, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The meeting was preceded by a Pre-Conference on 27th October 2021 on the subjects of TB & Lung Health and Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Sub-Saharan Africa focusing on Preventing Unsafe Abortion. The purely virtual PRE-NEAPACOH conference was supported by the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP) in close partnership with the International Multidisciplinary Programme to address Lung Health & TB in Africa (IMPALA) and the Guttmacher Institute.
This second of its kind be organized virtually, the meeting was held under the general theme of ‘’Sustained Programs for the Achievement of ICPD Goals and the SDGs: Role of Parliamentarians’’. The proceedings were lauded by participants from the different countries for being well-organized and allowing the different parliaments to discuss, share progress and country experiences regarding implementation of the 2019 NEAPACOH country commitments and the “Kampala Call to Action” amidst the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Deputy Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Committee of Health Hon. Joel Ssebikaali presided over the proceedings of the first day while his counterpart from Lesotho, and equally chairperson of NEAPACOH, Hon. Fako Moshoeshoe presided over the second day’s deliberations.
Hon. Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, Member of Parliament, Parliament of Uganda and Minister of ICT and National Guidance gave the official opening remarks and recognized all dignitaries present including; the Vice-Chairperson of the Health Committee and session chair, Mr. Adnene Ben Haj Aissa, the Executive Director of Partners in Population and Development (PPD), Hon. Fako Moshoeshoe, the Chairperson NEAPACOH, Ms. Suzanne Mandang, UNFPA Uganda Country Representative a.i, Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, the Director-General, National Population Council, Dr. Patrick Kadama, the Key Note Speaker, the Executive Director, African Institute for Development Policy, Dr. Eria Zulu, distinguished members of Parliament from the various countries participating, development partners, Civil Society Organizations and the media. Dr. Patrick Kadama delivered a keynote address on the topic of “Accelerating the achievement of the unfinished agenda of the ICPD and SDGs during and post COVID-19 Pandemic through South-South Cooperation”.
The meeting enabled participants from different countries across Africa to share their experiences as they fulfilled the 2019 NEAPACOH commitments. Parliamentarians shared challenges faced which was for the second year round, predominantly the novel Coronavirus pandemic that has impacted the different states greatly. The speakers shared other initiatives that countries may adopt in the fight against the pandemic such as community engagement. There was a general outcry on the increase in teenage pregnancies in most countries owing to the restrictions set due to the COVID 19 pandemic that set countries back even when they had made great strides to eliminate this.
African Parliamentarians noted in concert and with deep concern that family planning and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health are among the most seriously affected essential health services by the COVID-19 pandemic; and with heightened sexual and gender-based violence. It was equally noted that sharing of experiences and innovative practices in the context of horizontal South-South Cooperation is needed more than ever before, in the achievement of the ICPD Program of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development during and post COVID-19 pandemic period.
A lot of country reporting and challenges faced resonated with the fact that over 6 million women in sub-Saharan Africa who have unintended pregnancies due to inability to access and use family planning resort to unsafe abortions, which lead to high disease burden and needless loss of life among girls and women.
The Parliament of Uganda applauded by the network for having fulfilled its long time commitment of passing a National Health Insurance scheme bill in March 2021. Uganda reported though that this bill was yet to be assented to by the country’s president in order to be enacted into law.
Delegates to this meetings committed to advocate for investments in young people with a focus on education especially for the girl-child, health, participation in decision making, skilling, job creation in view of harnessing the Demographic Dividend. They pledged to continue providing leadership and stewardship on policy, legislation and perform budgetary oversight for reproductive health and family planning as well as promoting and supporting mobilization and general awareness on reproductive health and family planning in the context of the implementation of the ICPD agenda. Delegates from the Parliament of Burundi capped the meeting by giving a moving vote of thanks and applauding both organizers and participants to such a high-level convergence with concrete and educative experience sharing on common issues on the Continent.
Find below the documents (Presentations and other resource links) from the meetings:
PRE-NEAPACOH CONFERENCE – 27th Oct. 2021
Pre-Conference program: French_&_English_PROGRAM_Pre-NEAPACOH_IMPALA & Guttmacher Meetings_Oct 27_Fin
TB and Lung Health
Sexual and Reproductive Health
NEAPACOH 2021 CONFERENCE – 28th -29th Oct. 2021
Conference program: ENG_&-FRENCH-NEAPACOH_PROGRAM_2021 – FINAL
Opening, Closing and Keynote addresses
3. Ms. Suzanne Mandong, UNFPA Representative a.i, Uganda
Kampala Call to Action (English and French)
CONFERENCE VIDEO RECORDINGS
NEAPACOH 2021 Media Articles