Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO) organized a two day Eastern Africa Reproductive Health Network (EARHN) Coordination meeting on 21-22nd March 2017 at Imperial Royal Hotel in Kampala. The meeting agreed on a common understanding of the RH/FP situation and challenges in the Eastern Africa Region in the context of the SDGs; reviewed the EARHN 2012 – 2016 Strategic Plan, developed a draft successor Strategic Plan for the period 2017–2021; and developed recommendations for effective coordination of the network.
EARHN is a south-south advocacy network that was formed by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania in 1996 with the aim of contributing to improved policy, funding and visibility of RH/FP within the Eastern Africa countries. Membership has since expanded and currently includes Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Sudan, making up in total 9 countries with hopes of extending the reach to the rest of the Horne of Africa.
In total 45 participants from the 9 member countries attended the meeting. These were mainly focal persons, technical people drawn from the Ministries of Health and Planning, non-state partners implementing RH/FP programmes, and other like-minded stakeholders in the region including key CSO representatives. The meeting was covered by four media outlets including the regional East African.
The, Executive Director, Partners in Population and Development (PDD); Dr Joe Thomas, UNFPA Representative; Mr. Alain Sibenaler, the Director General, National Population Council of Uganda; Dr. Jotham Musinguzi made key note addresses at the meeting which was officially opened by the Minister of State for Health (PHC); Hon. Sarah Opendi. In her address, the minister stressed the need to implement the many policies and strategies that are put in place in order to facilitate the work of bringing higher up to scale issues of reproductive health including family planning. She noted that successful implementation of these progressive SRHR commitments is still impeded by lack of political will, inadequate funding for SRHR programmes, inadequate partnerships and coordination with and among local actors and international organizations.
At the end of the meeting, participants and country focal persons stressed the need for adapting EARHN‘s Strategic Positioning, Focus, Strategic Objectives and Interventions to ensure alignment with SDGs. They underscored the vital role and need to strengthen Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting of Programme Performance. EARHN’s Strategic Positioning. They reviewed old strategic focus, objectives & interventions and made strong recommendations for the new implementation strategy, stressing monitoring, evaluation and reporting mechanisms for the successor EARHN Strategic Plan, 2017 – 2021.