During the 5th regional meeting of Southern and Eastern African Parliamentary Alliance of Committees of Health (SEAPACOH) that was held in Kampala, Uganda, from August 29 – 31, 2012, it was recognised that, by and large, African countries share common challenges for health in general and reproductive health and family planning in particular.
It was therefore agreed that the mandate of SEAPACOH, under whose auspices the meeting was organized, be expanded to cover the whole of Africa in addressing issues of Family Planning, Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health.
Henceforth, SEAPACOH was transformed and renamed the Network of African Parliamentary Committees of Health (NEAPACOH), open for all African parliaments to be members.
Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD ARO), and AFIDEP collaborated in organising this year’s meeting of Parliamentary Committees of Health in Africa that was held on September 16 – 20, 2013 at Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda.
The meeting participants included Parliamentarians who are members of the Committees on Health and their Committee Clerks, as well representatives of development partners, NGOs, Civil Society and other important stakeholders engaged in Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal and Child Health programmes.
The theme for the meeting was “Reproductive Health and Family Planning in the post 2015 Sustainable Development Framework”. This meeting provided an opportunity to discuss and advocate for critical reproductive health and family planning issues that need to be prioritized in the post- 2015 development framework.
The meeting further provided an opportunity to discuss and review progress, share experiences and lessons learnt over the past one year on the implementation of the commitments that the parliamentarians agreed to take action on in their respective countries during the 2012 SEAPACOH meeting. The specific objectives of the meeting included:
1. Providing a forum for exchange of information and good practices, achievements and challenges on the implementation of the commitments agreed at the Sept 2012 SEAPACOH meeting;
2. Discussing and sharing innovative practices and emerging issues related to reproductive health and family planning which need to be prioritized in the post- 2015 development agenda;
3. Developing priority action plans for the parliamentarians to engage wider policy, technical and other audiences in addressing reproductive health and family planning in their respective countries; and
4. Coming up with suggestions and recommendations for strengthening the institutional capacity of NEAPACOH as a continental network
AFIDEP presented on the topic of “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend for Socio-Economic Development for African Countries“.
In addition, ahead of the NEAPACOH meeting, a Women’s Parliamentarians Meeting that aimed to assess and refine advocacy objectives for Family Planning and Reproductive Health was held. This meeting took place 15 -1 6 September 2013.
AFIDEP participated in this meeting jointly organized by the Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD-ARO), Futures Group “ Health Policy Project and Advance Family Planning.