BY NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
A Human Rights Lawyer and Defender says the expansion of the implementation of the Trump Global Gag Rule (GGR) has affected Non-Governmental Organizations that provide sexual reproductive health services in the country.
Namuchana Mushabati said the Global Gag Rule has brought disruption of certain sexual reproductive health services due to the funding gaps which has seen most NGOs stop providing the services.
Ms Mushabati said this has increased unsafe abortions among women and teen girls who fail to access safe abortions from health care providers.
Speaking during a Media Training on Sexual Reproductive Health organised by Marie Stopes in Lusaka Ms Mushabati said the GGR has impacted service provision of SRH which has devastating consequences to women and girls in the country.
The Global Gag Rule prohibits foreign Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who receive U.S. global health assistance from providing legal abortion services or referrals, while also barring advocacy for abortion law reforms.
Ms Mushabati said the recall of commodities has affected the provision of condoms and contraceptives among others thereby affecting women who want to access them due to the non availability of the commodity.
And Marie Stopes Youth Advisor responsible for providing technical support said cruel policies like the GGR are not helpful as they affect women and girls who need the services.
Ms Wina said Marie Stopes international globally lost about 50 million USD which led to about 1.8 million unintended pregnancies among women and girls adding that this was due to the funding gap brought about by the Trump GGR policy.
She also said 600,000 unsafe abortions and 4, 600 maternal deaths where recorded globally due to the lack of funding.
Meanwhile Ministry of Health Chief Safe Motherhood Officer Caren Chizuni said the ministry has come on board to cushion the gap by training health care providers to carry out safe abortions by providing equipment and drugs.
Ms Chizuni disclosed that teen pregnancies have remained high at 29 percent according to the Zambia Demographic Health survey carried out in 2018.
She said the Ministry is worried that the interventions by the Ministry to reduce teen pregnancies have not been targeting the root cause.
Ms Chizuni said there is need to increase sensitization of contraceptive use among women as the usage is still low if the country is to curb unwanted pregnancies.
She said contraceptive use in the country is low at 49.6 percent which includes women using any other prevention method such as traditional methods while those using modern methods is at 47.5 percent.
Ms Chizuni said the ministry have increased family planning support and allocation because it was also affected by the lack of funding of it’s partners by the donors.
The Independent Observer
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