My Founding Journey
My interest in sexual and reproductive health and rights was born by my college Diploma research project. Given a choice, it would have been last of my topic-it was new and unheard. I negotiated with lecturer for a different topic. “Believe me you will find it exciting, and you will do a good project.” She assured me while wearing a look that suggested we should not discuss further. It was an instant connection, like first-sight love. I did not know it going to be my lifetime passion and commitment. My research project was on Fistula which is one of the most devastating and grievous of all birth related complications. I identified so other many challenges along the way. The concept of sexual and reproductive health and rights became clearer…I am still gaining more knowledge.
What Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Is
First thing first, sexual and reproductive health and rights is the concept of bringing human rights to sexuality and reproduction. It combines four fields that are more or less different from each other, but less so or not at all other contexts. Women’s sexual and reproductive health is a relation to multiple human rights, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination (United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commission). Sexual and reproductive health and rights encompass efforts to eliminate preventable maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptive services, and to address sexually transmitted infections (STI) and cervical cancer, violence against women and girls, and sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents. Universal access to sexual and reproductive health is essential not only to achieve sustainable development but also to ensure that this new framework speaks to the needs and aspirations of people around the world and leads to realization of their health and human rights (World Health Organization). These are just few definitions among many
It’s clear that the promotion, protection and realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights is considerably faced by resistance in Africa. Gender and sex remain a pivotal position, users and providers of sexual and reproductive health and rights services face untold stigma, inaccessible/restrictions of information and services, lack of full participation for women in decision making, violation/abuse of women’s rights, inappropriate policies, lack of generation, communication and utilization of scientifically-accurate evidence, media’s failure to prioritize sexual and reproductive health and rights issues despite the excellent potential, legal barriers, unclear understanding of various population needs, cultures/taboos and emerging trends in communities among others.