|DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
The Women Living with HIV group and the Coalition for Wanted Births, in partnership with the Safe Abortion Action Fund and Amplify Change celebrated 26 & 28 September in South Kivu, with the theme of “Wanted births: a right for all”, including awareness-raising sessions with 240 sex workers on contraception and self-managed safe abortion in the context of Covid-19, a public march on 28 Sept, and a discussion forum with local government and community leaders on the theme: “The Maputo Protocol in the context of Covid-19: Provide access to safe, self-managed contraception and abortion”.
FRANCOPHONE WEST AFRICA
Twitter Chat, by She Decides, safe2choose.org
African Girls’ Empowerment (AGE) Network
As part of our efforts to raise awareness and advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, particularly on safe abortion as a woman’s human right in Nigeria, the AGE Network – with over 4,000 followers on Facebook – launched a series of social media campaigns on safe abortion to commemorate International Safe Abortion Day 2020. Thanks to the support of the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion, who provided us with a toolkit and key messages for the campaign, each day, starting from 16 September, we designed and posted a flyer with a key message, tagging the Nigerian government and the federal Ministry of Health, calling for abortion law reform in Nigeria. On 26 September, we held a live chat on Facebook with a key stakeholder – a medical practitioner at a Federal Government healthcare centre in Yola. We reached 659 people, with the active engagement of 75 people. AGE Network on Facebook, 10 Sept 2020
Reform abortion laws to end unsafe abortion in Nigeria, AGE Network tells the Nigerian Government
As part of its effort to end unsafe abortion and advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women and girls, AGE (African Girls Empowerment Network) on 28 September 2020 launched a series of online campaigns to commemorate International Safe Abortion Day 2020.
Speaking on 26 September 2020, during the Facebook Live Chat on #Ending unsafe abortion among women and girls, particularly at vulnerable and displacement settings during and after the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria, the group also decried women’s lack of access to modern methods of contraception. See the Facebook announcement of the Live Chat.
“Today, 26 September 2020 is World Contraception Day 2020 and millions of women and adolescent girls at the displaced and vulnerable settings and hard to reach communities in Nigeria still do not have access to quality family and life planning services or modern methods of contraception. The implications of this are an increase in unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion, as well as a high maternal mortality rate, among others.
Coming up on 28 September this month is International Safe Abortion Day 2020. This year the theme is: “Telemedicine, self-managed abortion and access to abortion in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. #IManageMyAbortion”
“As we approach #InternationalSafeAbortionDay2020, we are also calling on the Governments and relevant stakeholders to set aside laws and policies restricting access to #SafeAbortion and allow the use of telemedicine and self-managed abortion in line with WHO guidance.”
Our Special Guest during the Facebook Live Chat was Dr Daniel Onaolapo, Medical Officer at the Federal Medical Centre Yola, who highlighted the impact of abortion laws on women in developing countries, including Nigeria. He talked about the fact that about 97% of all unsafe abortions globally between 2010 and 2014 occurred in low income countries, with Africa as the focus.
He called on civil society actors and the Government to take action. “Civil society has a big role to play in this, he said. First, by educating the populace, male and female equally, about safe sexual practices, unsafe abortion and the risks involved. Second, by encouraging the government to incorporate sex education in the school curriculum, right from primary school. Third, by considering whether to amend the current abortion laws as deemed fit.”
He was asked what are the appropriate measures that can be taken to reduce the stigmatization of abortion in politics, religion and other aspects of society? Dr Daniel replied: “Very important question, moderator. Despite the strict laws in Nigeria, there’s a need to reduce the stigma. And there are various ways that can be done. 1. Provision of counselling services, which should be client-centred and judgement free. 2. Parental education is also crucial so as to pass the knowledge to their offspring. 3. Our religious centres should incorporate this into their teachings as well. I believe with these and more, stigmatization will reduce significantly.”
Visit AGE Network’s Facebook page to learn more about them, their Safe Abortion campaign and the Live Chat with Dr Daniel Onaolapo, and 28 Sept visuals on 16 Sept and 17 Sept.
MALAWI / ZAMBIA
Animated stories of adolescent girls
The London School of Economics, PositiveNegatives and Ipas are pleased to share the results of our collaborative research project: “Improving adolescent access to contraception and abortion-related care” through the animated stories of adolescent girls in Malawi and Zambia. Using information from over 100 interviews conducted in each country, these animations aim to engage adolescents about abortion and contraception, using their own narratives.
Mphatso’s story – Malawi Mwansa’s story – Zambia
@SRHRadolescent / @LSE_ID / @PosNegOrg / @IpasOrg
Ministry of Health and NGOs celebrate 28 September
On 28 September, the NGO Health Development Initiative (HDI) partnered with the Ministry of Health and other NGOs, including the Rwanda NGO Forum on HIV/AIDs and Health Promotion, Ihorere Munyarwanda, and Great Lakes Initiative for Human Rights and Development, to celebrate International Safe Abortion Day. The celebrations were held at Kibagabaga Hospital. The Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health, Edward Kamuhangire, noted that the Ministry has provided trainings and equipment to different hospitals so that those who are legally allowed to have an abortion can have a safe procedure, performed by medical personnel. Dr Aflodis Kagaba, director of HDI, noted that it would not have been possible to hold such a meeting in a public hospital ten years ago. He emphasised the importance of all healthcare providers and support staff, such as social workers and counsellors, being aware and ready to offer information and services on safe abortion. Other main messages for the day centred on preventing unwanted pregnancies and encouraging women and young women to make use of safe abortion services. From: New Times, by Joan Mbabazi, 30 September 2020.
Rwanda Health Initiative for Youth and Women (RHIYW), Rwanda NGO Forum and others
This year for International Safe Abortion Day, the theme for Rwanda was “The role of CSOs in prevention of unsafe abortion among women and girls”. Rwanda has made tremendous efforts in improving the health of women and girls by reforming restrictive laws on access to safe abortion and improving access to post-abortion care and safe abortion services. Girls and women seeking services face barriers to access services, however – stigma, discrimination, and lack of information – which cause a certain number of women to resort to unsafe abortion. RHIYW worked with a range of NGOs to organise different activities addressing some of those barriers at community level and with youth. As a pre-activity, RHIYW, in collaboration with the Rwanda NGO Forum, organised an event at the Musanze Youth Centre. Young people and representatives from the district authorities and the Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs were present.
On 29 September, the “prevention of teenage pregnancy” was the topic discussed at Radio Rwanda Broadcasting Agency. The panellists were the Vice Mayor in Charge of Social Affairs, the In Charge of Good Governance and a RHIYW representative. They highlighted the role of parents and parental influence and what parents should do – communicate with their children about sex, love and relationships; encourage their children to take school seriously and set high expectations for themselves; and monitor and control what their children are watching, reading and listening to.
SOURCE: Rwanda Health Initiative for Youth and Women, 26 and 28 and 30 September 2020
Access to safe abortion in cases of rape and incest has become an urgent and absolute necessity: a statement on behalf of the Task Force for Legal Access to Safe Abortion in Senegal, Association of Senegalese Women Lawyers
Safe2choose was live on Instagram with Khanyisa Booi talking about MVA (manual vacuum aspiration). They were also on Twitter, where they partnered with Mandikudza Tembo @BleedRead and Global Health Strategies in a Twitter Chat. Join the conversation on #Imanagemyabortion #28Sept
Center for Health, Human Rights and Development &
Coalition to Stop Maternal Mortality due to Unsafe Abortions
VIDEO: e-Candlelight Vigil in memory of women who have died due to
unsafe abortion during Covid-19, 25 Sept 2020
+ NTV Live Dialogue: Lived Realities of Women During Covid-19, 29 Sept 2020
+ Why Women Die, Daily Monitor article, 28 Sept 2020
We called for increased support for women and girls in need of abortion services
TURGET-Uganda is a non-governmental organization which aims at improving the reproductive health rights of young people below the age of 25 years and women in partnership with men in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For 28 September 2020, we raised policy issues, held discussions (through webinars, meetings, and research findings), and participated in social media activity. Our work was aimed at youth, civil society, legal practitioners, providers, and politicians/civil servants. Our aim is to save women’s and girls’ lives through reduction of abortion stigma and reduction of unsafe abortions during the Covid-19 crisis. We called for increased support for women and girls in need of abortion services.