By Citizen Reporter Williams Moi
African media have been called on to promote SRHR in order to improve and promote Sexual, Reproductive Health and Rights in our communities.
A workshop was organised by the White Ribbon Alliance Uganda (WRA), in connection with the UN Women and the Guardian Newspaper, so as to empower citizens to monitor, report, and advocate for SRHR. Thirty-five citizens journalists from across Africa, including from Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi, have been trained in Kampala; half of them are women.
The three day training workshop from August 3rd to 5th, empowered citizens to monitor and track progress, and to demand accountability for commitments made by our governments towards maternal ,sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The workshop also familiarized citizen journalists with the new Sustainable Development Goals in the context of SRHR, according to Faridah Luyiga Mwanje from WRA Uganda.
While giving her opening remarks at Makerere University in Kampala, Anna Mutavati, deputy country representative for UN Women, said that women who experience disrespect and abuse during childbirth are less likely to seek skilled health care in future, adding that maternal health must include rights based respectful maternity care.
Robina Biteyi, National Coordinator WRA Uganda, said “we are very proud of working with our partner UN Women, leading the way in citizen journalism, especially through our advocacy which drives change for women and children in the region. We know that citizen-led accountability is the most sustainable way to bringing about change.”
One of the workshop participants, John Thawithe from Kasese, said that “we must observe the rights of all people including women and children, and we must create favorable condition for all Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights to be realized at various levels. This means through improved policies, and service delivery and implementation.
The WRA works for “healthy mothers and a healthy world”, by pushing for government to keep its promises to the people for life-saving emergency obstetric and newborn care as a priority intervention to reduce maternal and newborn deaths in Uganda.
In the words of WRA Uganda, we must “Act now to save mothers.’’