African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST) in partnership with the Civil Society Coalition on Maternal Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH) put together a two days meeting for the members of the coalition and Members of Parliament to dialogue on advocacy on Sexual Reproductive Health; Human Resources for Health, Financing; Governance and Commodities.
The two days meeting brought together 17 members of parliament from committees on: Health, Legal, Human Rights and members of the Uganda parliamentary forum on quality of care; and 45 members of the Civil Society from 32 Civil Society organizations working on; youth, children, SRH, policy, HIV/AIDS and Human Resources for Health related issues.
The agenda of the two days meeting that ran from 6th-7th June 2017 at Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala hinged on the Health Systems Advocacy Project that seeks to enable communities realize their right to the highest attainable sexual, reproductive health and rights services (SRHR) by creating space for a strong civil society to engage effectively with governments, the private sector and other stakeholders accountable for health systems, to deliver equitable, accessible and high-quality SRHR services and commodities funded by the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation.
Dr. Patrick Kadama, Director Policy at ACHEST when presenting on the Health Systems Advocacy Partnership project and roles of coalition members highlighted that Health system is an outcome and the need to come up with the outputs to realize the outcome needs to be fast tracked. He further noted that Health and wellbeing are outcomes attained at the household level and need policies to deliver these outcomes; an organized group of CSOs who are the watch dogs of service delivery are therefore need to be boosted this.
Meanwhile, Prof Francis Omaswa, the Executive Director of ACHEST while giving an overview of the meeting noted that the coalition of CSOs working on maternal health is a coalition that builds a climate of opinion in the whole country that can leverage using its numbers. He encouraged them to engage in: knowledge gathering through research, building of capacities and Training in lobbying and advocacy including mind set negotiation that can influence their advocacy endeavors. He also pointed out on the critical role played by the members of parliament in realizing advocacy results.
The coalition members put together a six point advocacy issue paper that included: Human Resources for health; Health financing; Youth friendly services, Sexual Reproductive Health commodities, Comprehensive Sexuality Education and the East African Community Sexual Reproductive Health Bill and other policies that need amendment and implementation.
Dr. Michael Bukenya, the chairman parliamentary committee on health while responding to the advocacy issues presented by the coalition members brought to light the progress of their work regarding the issues raised. He also requested ACHEST to share with the MPs knowledge materials that can re-enforce their work and capacity building opportunities for the members of parliament who keep changing.
During the meeting, coalition members also elected new members of the steering committee to steer and govern the engagements of the coalition and a one year road map to advance Sexual and Reproductive Health activities.
Compiled by Loice Epetiru,
Communications Specialist, African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST)