CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
SPEAKER of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini has called for sustained and contextualised sexual reproductive health (SRH) response at national level.
Dr Matibini has since implored members of Parliament (MP) to influence change to advance sexual reproductive health, HIV and AIDS and governance issues.
â€œWe have to endeavour to unpack the concept of SRH and present it to MPs in plain, simple terms as it will ultimately help the general public fully appreciate the concepts involved in sexual reproductive rights as well as matters of HIV and governance,â€ he said.
The Speaker was speaking in a speech read for him by chairperson of the national working group on SRH Christopher Kalila during the official opening of the orientation workshop for MPs and staff on SRH, HIV and AIDS and governance programme yesterday.
Dr Matibini said once SRH is simplified, MPs can begin the journey to enable every woman and girl make decisions about their body; every adolescent to access comprehensive sexuality education and youth-friendly services.
He said every woman needs to be assured that the birth of her child would be without undue risk to her and her babyâ€™s life.
The Speaker said the subject of SRH is also important to parliamentarians because they cover extensive spheres of social and political influence.
He said once MPs are well-informed on SRH, they would be able to exert and maintain political pressure on governing bodies, scrutinise and influence health policies, promote government accountability to commitments and stimulate more effective national SRH and HIV responses.
And SADC Parliamentary Forum secretary-general Esau Chiviya called for enhanced sexual education to enable both young and older women make informed choices.
He urged MPs to work in collaboration with traditional leaders, civil society organisations and constituents to help end child marriages in various communities.
And Government says it recognises the critical role that Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) plays in the wellbeing of Zambians through its provision of reproductive health services to the communities.
Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said in Lusaka yesterday that the Patriotic Front (PF) government recognises the organisation as a key ally in the promotion of good sexual and reproductive health.
Dr Chilufya was speaking when he officiated at the 37th PPAZ general conference in Lusaka.
He said sexual and reproductive health issues remain a priority due to the number of women who have continued dying while pregnant. â€œZambia has recorded successes in the past few years yet a lot remain to be done. We would like to see no woman dying while pregnant; we would like to see comprehensive reproductive health services available to all women and men,â€ Dr Chilufya said.
He called for the promotion of sexual and reproductive health services for adolescent girls and teenagers.
CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka