EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, THE GAMBIA:- The National Population Commission Secretariat in collaboration with UNFPA has on Thursday commenced training for National Assembly Select Committee on Health to build their capacity for advocacy on population, gender and reproductive health issues.
During the two days training, the lawmakers are expected to be exposed to key commitments and declarations made by The Gambia on international platforms with regards to population and development.
In many countries, gender inequalities have influenced people’s ability to access health services. In The Gambia, inequalities in gender front still stand to be a major poor reproductive health issue in women, especially young girls.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Rohey Bittaye, said the training will enrich the participants and other stakeholders to develop policy, planning and implementation on gender awareness.
”To efficiently improve the response and prevention of gender and reproductive health issues, my ministry with partners has initiated and supported the establishment of key structures at the decentralized levels,” she said.
These structures, according to her, include a one-step shop for victims of GBV, child protection committees at community levels and renovation of an edifice at the Bakoteh Shelter for GBV victims to be accommodated temporarily and be provided with counselling services.
As the protection of the right to health for women and children remains a major challenge, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, Lamin Dampha, said sexual and reproductive health is fundamental to every individual in the country.
”The government of The Gambia has realized that the sustainable development of the nation would not be achieved without renewed commitment by the entire nation as well as local leaders and partners towards the improvement of women, children and adolescent’s health,” he said.
Meanwhile, the director of Population Affairs, Mariama Fanneh, acknowledged that the training is organised in fulfilment of the commitments made in 2019 to strengthen the capacities of lawmakers to internalize population and development issues.
“By the end of the two days training, we hope to enhance the capacity of the lawmakers present here today with crosscutting knowledge on population and development realities and dynamics to better advocate for increased budgetary allocations, promote legislations especially in the areas of reproductive health, including family planning, gender mainstream among others, for sustainable socio-economic development,” he assured.
The majority leader of the National Assembly, Kebba K. Barrow, described the training as timely as the country continues to grapple with challenges in reproductive health, gender mainstream and other population and development issues.
According to a cross-sectional study conducted among women in the Farafenni region, majority of women in some rural Gambia experience reproductive health problems.