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Parliament lobbied to give attention to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

By
Christabel Addo-GNA

Accra, July 6, GNA – The Human Rights Advocacy
Centre (HRAC), a research and advocacy organisation, has lobbied Parliament, to
give policy attention to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) issues.

It said although Ghana had made significant
progress in the area of SRHR over the past 20 years, with far-reaching
improvements in institutional mechanisms as well as policy frameworks for women
empowerment, awareness, the promotion of gender equality, equity, health care,
including family planning and reproductive health services, and the prevention
of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), among others, there were still some
gaps.

The HRAC called for the adoption of a national
consolidated and specific SRHR Policy, due to the fact current legislation and
policy frameworks were fragmented, making their effective implementation
difficult to yield the desired outcomes.

Ms Wendy Abbey, the Technical Advisor at the
HRAC, who led the advocacy, said closing the gaps in the legislation and policy
frameworks on SRHR, would require their harmonisation to ensure effective
implementation and delivery of services for women and girls.

She was addressing some Members of Parliament
at a joint-committee briefing with the Coalition of NGOs in Health on the
Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report on the country’s legal and policy
situation in Accra.

The UPR, she explained, was an assessment of
the country’s current legal and policy environment of SRHR which also
facilitated the development of a Joint Civil Society Coalition Shadow Report on
the issue, in contribution to the United Nation’s Review process on Ghana,
which would be held November this year.

Ms Abbey said the HRAC’s assessment of the
situation revealed that although several legislative and policy frameworks
existed, in practice, women and girls continued to suffer from limited access
to comprehensive sexual education, abortion services and contraception.

She said read out a number of recommendations
that had been made by Civil Society in the UPR report which included the
adoption of legislative measures in to a single national policy, to incorporate
more of international and regional SRHR into explicit statutory provisions.

They also called for a comprehensive national
SRHR curriculum to be development and implemented universally for children in
and out of school across the country; the redrafting of the current law on
abortion to reflect growing international practices, and also ensure the strict
implementation of Child Marriage Policies.

Ms Abbey said other recommendations further
stressed on the need for a comprehensive national survey prior to the
development of a new policy or updating of legislative provisions, for
effective collection and analysis of data on SRHR interventions and access to
services nationwide, and also to raise awareness through a national campaign to
empower the key population.

Mr William Kwasi Sabi, the Vice Chairman of
the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, expressed gratitude to the HRAC
and the Coalition of NGOs in Health for strengthening the capacities of CSOs
since 2014, to ensure effective advocacy and monitoring on SRHR in Ghana.

He said the project was very important, as it
provided an overview of the country’s SRHR presented several recommendations on
how government might address the current gaps, and gave the assurance that
Parliament would consider SRHR as a critical base for good health and national
development and support its improvement.

GNA

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