Between 17-18 July 2018, the 8th East African Reproductive Health Network (EARHN) coordination meeting will be held in Kigali, Rwanda, bringing together participants from Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. The meeting will draw technical personnel from units responsible for reproductive health in Ministries of Health, ministries or departments for national planning, and representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) involved in reproductive health/family planning, maternal and child health programmes. Rwanda’s Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba, will officially flag off the meeting.
This meeting’s theme is “Implementation of the EARHN Strategic Plan 2017-2021, challenges and opportunities”, with the aim of, among others, sharing progress made, challenges, lessons learned and opportunities since the implementation of the 2017-2022 EARHN Strategic Plan. It was at the 7th EARHN coordination meeting held in October 2017 that this Strategic Plan was disseminated and countries in attendance developed country-specific action plans for promoting reproductive health/family planning (RH/FP) anchored around the Plan.
This year’s meeting will also provide a platform for a discussion of the situation of RH/FP in the East African region, where AFIDEP’s Dr. Bernard Onyango will present the findings of the East African Regional Analysis of Youth Demographics, a study that examined the changing demographics of youth and the increasing demand for social services – including reproductive health information and services – in four East African Community (EAC) countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda.
The EARHN was formed as a south-south regional advocacy network with the core objective of enabling the three founding countries namely; Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania to undertake a series of advocacy activities geared towards improving reproductive health services and programs in the region.
The three countries agreed that inter and intra-country collaborations (south-south) were necessary to address reproductive health, population, and development challenges in the region since the founding countries faced similar challenges and could come up with solutions that apply within and across borders. The EARHN has since expanded to include countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and South Sudan. The Chairmanship of EARHN has been rotational among the countries of Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The current chair of EARHN is Uganda with Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office providing the Secretariat.