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In quest for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights

Maternal Health

A collection of stories 

In this booklet we feature a collection of stories of how far we have come on the ICPD agenda and since 1981 when we began working in Zimbabwe. As the articles show some progress has been made in the realisation of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights but there is still a lot more that still needs to be done to ensure universal coverage. On Family Planning, for example you will hear accounts of how far we have come from the days when women used to jump shrubs or tie knots around their waists as a means of family planning to today where we have modern and more effective means of contraceptive.

We have accounts of women who have spent so many years in isolation with no dignity because of the lack of obstetric fistula repair surgery yet so resilient and strong in the face of such suffering and humiliation.  We have accounts of young girls and women who have been given a new lease in life and who have big dreams in their lives thanks to mentorship from the Sista2Sista programme. We have accounts of how access to services has made a difference to survivors of GBV’s lives, enabling them to find justice and move on from the trauma of their various experiences.  

By all accounts, it is encouraging how far we have come in ensuring universal coverage to Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.

Family planning

The ICPD Programme of Action recognised that reproductive health and rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. This important conference is what has grounded UNFPA’s work over the years. Since then we have seen marked progress in ensuring access to sexual reproductive health and rights the world over, including in Zimbabwe. For example, in 1994 modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate in Zimbabwe was at 42% and today it stands at 67%, one of the highest in Africa. This is steady progress that Zimbabwe is making in the various areas related to the ICPD agenda.

Leaving no one behind

The year 2019 is a milestone year for us as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - we celebrate 50 years of delivering for women and young people on the SRHR agenda and 25 years of commitment to the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action. At this conference very important resolutions were made to improve access to sexual and reproductive health. The Programme of Action recognised that reproductive health and rights, as well as women's empowerment and gender equality, are cornerstones of population and development programmes. This important conference is what has grounded UNFPA's work over the years.

Ending Gender Based Violence and Harmful Cultural Practices

We have seen progress but we still have a lot more work to do to deliver on the ICPD Programme of Action as this advocacy booklet will show; we still have a lot of “unfinished business”. There are still many people in marginalized rural communities who are failing to access essential SRH services that we need to reach in the best way we can. A significant number of women (about 8 women a day) are still dying whilst giving birth. In the 15-19-year age group, 110 per 1,000 girls are giving birth. Gender Based Violence sadly affects 1 in 3 women and girls. These few examples highlight the 'unfinished business' that Zimbabwe still faces and needs to focus on.