Burkina Faso: WHO Supports the Ministry of Health in the Establishment and Training of a National Experts Group On Sexual and Reproductive Health, With a Focus On Family Planning, Post-Abortion Care, and Safe Termination of Pregnancy Authorized By Law

In 2019, the WHO Africa Office established a Regional Technical Advisory Group to promote Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to reduce preventable maternal mortality in Africa. The group is responsible for advising on comprehensive policies and strategies for health system strengthening for universal access to essential services and quality care for women, children, and adolescents in the Member States.

Following the example of this Regional Group, the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso, through the Directorate of Family Health and in collaboration with WHO, has established a network of national experts in Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health which will be responsible for providing support to accelerate progress in this area for Universal Health Coverage.

These 15 national experts were selected based on their wide range of knowledge in clinical and public health areas and their professional affiliation (universities, research institutes, professional societies and government agencies, including maternal and child health programs, health system strengthening, etc.). They were trained through an orientation workshop from September 23-25, 2020. The meeting focused on Family Planning, Self-Care for SRHR, Post-abortion Care and safe termination of pregnancy authorized by law, in line with national policy and the new WHO guidelines.

"In 1998, with the Director of the Family Health Division, we thought of setting up a group of experts like this one, but it never came to fruition. Congratulations to the Ministry of Health and WHO for this initiative, which will certainly improve the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Programs." Prof. Blami DAO, a national expert, participating in the workshop.

During the meeting, different themes were discussed:

· Context and situation of the SRHR and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the global, regional, and national levels,

· WHO SRH Guidelines,

· SRH Policies, Standards and Protocols, the national guidelines for Post-Abortion Care and Safe Termination of Pregnancy permitted by law,

· Ministry of Health's National Guidelines for Postpartum Family Planning,

· Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights including Family Planning /Safe Abortion and Human Rights,

· Theory of change through value clarification in abortion care and sexual rights.

Presentations on group dynamics, policy dialogue, advocacy, and interpersonal communication generated a great deal of interest among participants. The workshop also contributed to the finalization of the term of references for the Experts Group and identified future priority actions. These were:

· The identification and orientation of additional experts from other Ministries, civil society representatives including religious organizations with profiles of Champions to advocate at the highest level,

· The finalization of the action plan and the Ministerial Order to create the group based on the term of references drawn up,

· The organization of the first statutory meeting of the Group of Experts in January 2021,

· And the creation and facilitation of the WhatsApp group.

The National Experts have already started to support the implementation of different activities, namely:

· Development of technical datasheets, job aids, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights algorithms for service providers,

· Competency-based assessment of the teaching capacities of midwifery vocational schools,

· The development of the National Guidelines and the Guide on Caesarean Section and Robson's Index, etc.

For Additional Information or to Request Interviews, Please contact:

Dr Dina Gbenou

Technical Officer

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Burkina-Faso

Email: gbenoud [at] who.int

Tel.: 00 226 53 00 66 39

Dr Ramatou Sawadogo

Program Officer,

Maternal and Neonatal Health

WHO Burkina Faso

Email: ssawadogo [at] who.int

Dr Clotaire Hien

Consultant SAA,

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights,

WHO Burkina Faso

Email: hieny [at] who.int

Dr Fousseni DAO

Programme CAH

Santé de l'enfant et de l'adolescent

Point focal Nutrition

Dr Asmani Chilanga

Technical Officer,

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

WHO Regional Office for Africa, IST for West and Central Africa

Email : asmanic [at] who.int

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