Stakeholders in the health sector are seeking to mobilize political will and financial commitments from governments and donor partners to ensure universal access to sexual reproductive health.
UNFPA Chief Communication officer Selinde Dulckeit says great strides have been made globally over the last 25 years with maternal mortality rates dropping by 40 percent over the same period.
Dulckeit attributes the situation to an increase in the number of skilled health workers as well as a drop-in cases of FGM and early marriages.
And as the country prepares to host a high-level International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in November in Nairobi, it is evident that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential to achieving sustainable development.
According to National Council for Population and Development assistant director Beatrice Okundi, though the country had made great achievements by putting in place laws and policies to address retrogressive cultural practices, some communities are still practicing harmful practices.
“Though some communities are still practicing FGM and early marriages, we have seen a drop in the cases and the government is committed to ending this,” she said.
Speaking in Naivasha during a workshop to address emerging issues ahead of the Conference, Okundi said the summit will focus on five thematic areas including achieving unmet needs for family planning information and services, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls.
“We want to make sure that there is universal access to sexual reproductive health so that we can have quality families which can afford three meals per day,” she said.
The summit marks 25 years since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo adopted its landmark Programme of Action, centred around the recognition that sexual and reproductive health, gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential to achieving sustainable development.
The Nairobi Summit will reenergize the global community, breathe new life into the ICPD agenda and sustain and amplify gains made since 1994.
It will be a springboard for governments and other organizations to announce voluntary, global commitments—including financial ones—to accelerate progress.
World leaders, heads of state and governments, officials from international organizations, heads of grassroots organizations, business leaders, youth and other stakeholders are expected at the November Nairobi Summit.