Director of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, (RHSC), Martyn Smith, says the time is ripe for African countries to put in the right policies and measures to ensure the local manufacturing of high quality reproductive health supplies, to meet the needs of the continent.
According to the director of the world’s largest network of reproductive health agencies, the right policy environment around infrastructure, quality and regulation, financing, and the political will, will foster the local manufacturing of reproductive health products to help reduce the Continent’s reliance on importation of these essential products for women and girls.
“It’s been a big talking point coming out of the pandemic. We had those supply chain disruptions that we experienced during 2020, 2021, 2022,” he said.
“We need to play the long game here. We need to understand that it’s going to take a lot of small steps to get us to a situation where Ghana or Nigeria or Kenya or South Africa or other countries on the Continent, for that matter, are able to manufacture high quality reproductive health supplies, and at a very, very good unit cost that can then be supplied to the continent that is a dream that can become a reality,” he stated.
Mr. Smith, speaking with the media on the sidelines of the RHSC General Membership Meeting in Accra, expressed the commitment of RHSC to facilitate the local manufacturing of reproductive health supplies in Africa.
The meeting brought RHSC members together to examine COVID19’s impact on funding for reproductive health supplies and related markets and supply chains, drawing lessons from how the sector responded, and celebrating its unique resilience.
Co-hosted by the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the meeting also afforded the over 300 world experts on reproductive health supplies the platform to strategise for financing and equity in reproductive health supply provision.
Ag. Family Planning Programme Manager, GHS, Dr. Claudette Diego, said the government recognises that access to reproductive health products is more than a health objective, ‘it is an unequivocal human right’.
She, thus, noted that the GHS has taken deliberate steps to equip every citizen with the tools to make informed family choices, ensuring they can reach essential healthcare and cultivate fulfilling lives.
“Between 2020 and 2022, the GHS and our strategic partners – USAID, UNFPA, Global Fund and WAHO have jointly provided about $14.4 worth of Family Planning Products. Beyond this, they have continuously accompanied us on this journey through technical assistance and mentoring to making sure women have access to a variety of family planning services.
These collaborations, combined with our sustained commitment, have resulted in significant demographic shifts, notably a marked decline in births per woman [(total births per woman reduced from 6.4 in 1988 to 4.2 in 2014 (GDHS)] and reductions in household size [(4.4 in 2010 to 3.6 in 2021- (2021 PHC)],” she added.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri