Voice and Choice Barometer launched in Namibia

Voice and Choice Barometer launched in Namibia

Date: November 11, 2020
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For immediate release

Windhoek, 3 November 2020: The SADC Gender Protocol Alliance members and Gender Links Namibia launched the #VoiceandChoice 2020 SRHR Barometer in the time of COVID-19. The launch took place at the Government Information Centre.

The Executive Director of Ministry of Health Ben Nangombe officially launched the Barometer and Gender Links Chair Person Emily Brown presented on the Barometer findings. Nangombe in his speech remarked that the launch took place at the right time to remind us the progress we have made so far particularly in the area of SRH. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) gains made in the last decade. SRH becomes especially important in emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, given that women make up 70% of the global health workforce, representing a majority of frontline health workers, nurses, midwives, and community health workers. This should alert us all on the need for focusing and promoting SRHR services in our country.

The key findings of the #SADCGenderBarometer2020 relevant to Namibia include:
• Increased threats to access to family planning services and basic SRHR services for adolescents, young women and girls due to redirecting of resources in response to COVID-19 pandemic.
• Closure of schools has led to even higher levels of child marriages & teenage pregnancy and as the pandemic remains with use we will continue to see the impact on education targets as well as the future of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).

Nangombe also highlighted governments specifically the Ministry of Health and Social Services commitments to improve and enhance the standard and quality of life of the Namibian people by making sure that:
• Citizens are able to access to accurate information as well as and the safe, effective, affordable, and acceptable contraception method of choice;
• Information availability that empowers people to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs);
• When women decide to have children, they must have access to services that can help them have a healthy pregnancy, safe delivery.

There is no doubt that COVID-19 is a serious threat to the lives of the Namibian people and the public health system. The pandemic has adversely affected SRHR services, including the supply chain of contraceptive products.

The Barometer is compiled annually by the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance (the Alliance) a “network of networks” that campaigned for the adoption of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development. The #VoiceandChoice Barometer measures 100 indicators in thematic areas such as Sexual and Reproductive Health; Adolescent SRHR; Safe Abortion; GBV; HIV and AIDS; Harmful Practices and Sexual Diversity

GL Namibia and its Alliance partners will be organising events including cyber dialogues for the upcoming 16 Days of Activism cyber dialogues. They will debate key findings in the Barometer and how to close gaps and strengthen #VoiceandChoice campaigns in the country. For more information on how to join the 16 Days of Activism Cyber dialogues, click here.

For interviews please contact Fabian Sampaya on nammanager@genderlinks.org.za or Veronika Haimbili on +264 81 362 5989.

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