Over 150 people came together at Women Deliver 2016 to hear an expert panel share their practical experiences and solutions from their work tackling unsafe abortion.
The event was co-hosted by Marie Stopes International, Ipas and the Governments of Denmark and the UK. The panel included:
Hon. Gladys Gbappy-Brima, Member of Parliament for Sierra Leone;
Paramount Chief Kyungu of Malawi;
Dr. Syeda Zahida Naveed, Additional Director (technical), Policy and Strategic Planning Unit, Government of Punjab, Pakistan;
Dr. Yirgu Gebrehiwot, President of the African Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Member of the Executive Board of FIGO;
Mr. Martin Bille Hermann, Danish State Secretary for Development Co-operation, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Will Niblett, Head of the SRHR Team at the UK’s Department for International Development.
The panel and participants shared how they have been able to advocate for policy change and implement these changes in their different contexts.
For example Chief Kyungu shared how he had been able to convince other chiefs to support a new abortion law in Malawi by explaining the huge contribution of unsafe abortion to maternal mortality in rural areas.
The speakers highlighted the crucial role of co-ordination and partnership among religious leaders, parliamentarians, health professionals and citizens. Policy change is an important foundation for implementation, but the panel also reinforced how much can be achieved - even in highly restrictive environments - by normalising access and properly putting into operation existing policies.
Vinoj Manning, Executive Director at Ipas Development Foundation and panel moderator, said:
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