News

Re-committing to the unfinished business of the ICPD, SWOP 2019 official launch

17 June 2019
(R) Ms Beatrice Mutali, UNFPA South Africa Representative, Country Director for Botswana and Eswatini, (C) Ms Ruth Maphorisa, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Wellness (L) Ms Mareledi Segotso, UNFPA Botswana Assistant Representative

The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health and Wellness, Ms Ruth Maphorisa officially launched the 2019 State of World Population (SWOP) report on 5 June in Gaborone, Botswana. The report, with the theme Unfinished business: the pursuit of rights and choices for all, celebrates the great achievements in sexual and reproductive health and rights made in the last 50 years while challenging the world to address barriers and challenges that still remain.

 

The year 2019 marks 25 years since the revolutionary  1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICDP) in Cairo, Egypt. The ICPD25 anniversary is therefore is an opportunity to celebrate achievements made in implementing the Cairo promise, and recommit to fulfilling the unfinished business of the ICPD. “While we have set the pace and made strides in some areas, we have regressed in other important areas. When compared to other Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs), our maternal mortality ratio at 143 deaths per 100 000 live births is double the average for UMICs”, reflected Ms Maphorisa. She lamented the consequences of unmet need for family planning, highlighting the reports of high teenage pregnancy in the country. Unmet need for family not only challenges the ability of women and girls to control their bodies and their future, but also comes as a great cost to the government. “The 2018 Botswana Demographic Dividend Study revealed that if Botswana reduced the number of unplanned pregnancies, the total fertility rate would drop from 3. 1 to 2.0 births per women, leading to a cumulative boost in living standards of 19% by 2050.

 

Ms Maphorisa emphasized that for Botswana to fulfill the Cairo promise and prosperity for all, partners including civil society, the private sector and the people of Botswana need to join forces with the government.

 

What’s Changed Conversation

 


(L) Thatayaone Gabositwe, (C) Senzeni Makhwaje (R) Thatayontlhe Molefe

To further highlight the unfinished business of the Cairo Promise in Botswana a What’s changed conversation was held with members of the civil society and a young person as community drivers of the ICPD promise. The dialogue was an opportunity to remind stakeholders of what remains as unfinished business while calling for greater participation and support to accelerate action.

 

The four guests were Senzeni Makhwaje, Program Manager at Botswana Family Welfare Association; Thatayontlhe Molefe, Executive Director at Men for Health and Gender Justice;  Thatayaone Gabositwe, Country Programme Director for Botswana at SRHR Africa Trust and Botho Mahlunge, youth volunteer at SRHR Africa Trust Botswana.

 

Senzeni Makhwaje, Program Manager at Botswana Family Welfare Association spoke on innovations in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery where  civil society compliment governemt efforts by providing ARVs and some commodities.

 

Thatayontlhe Molefe, Executive Director at Men for Health and Gender Justice highlighted that while there  is progress  in many areas towards universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, more needs to be done for the left behind population groups  like key populations.

 

Thatayaone Gabositwe, Country Programme Director for Botswana at SRHR Africa Trust discussed the implementation gaps between policy and service delivery, and the impact on the sexual  and reproductive rights of adolescents and young people. “Botswana’s policy environment allows for young people to access services, particularly Youth Friendly Health Services(YFHS).” He raised concern about the implementation of YFHS as small under resourced corners in very few public facilities. This implementation approach he cautioned keeps health services inaccessible, and unfriendly  to many young people.

 

Botho Mahlunge, 19 year old youth volunteer at SRHR Africa Trust Botswana emphasized the importance of the provision of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE)  in schools. As a young person who grew up in Lobatse, a town 75 km from the capital of Gaborone, but yet had no access to CSE, she voiced her concern for young people in rural areas who are likely to be even more disadvantaged than her.