African Young Positives Network | Advocacy Manager
"I need to allow myself to be led in order to lead effectively."
Annah Sango is a Women Deliver Young Leader from Zimbabwe. She is a passionate advocate for youth health and well-being, encouraging her peers to learn about their sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially concerning HIV/AIDS. Here, she shares her reflections on what advocacy means to her.
My advocacy experiences have been and still are a learning process. I have interacted with mentors and whole groups of people who have demonstrated amazing skills and work. Along the way, I have learnt that advocacy is a journey that happens on different levels. As a young woman, I should not merely occupy spaces without validating my relevance and representation of what I stand for. Sometimes making noise is not activism—and sometimes, making the necessary noise is.
IntraHealth International | Director of Communications and Advocacy
Mayors from francophone West Africa learn more about TCI and family planning at a site visit in Senegal. Photo by Clement Tardif for IntraHealth International.
“I can’t believe it’s so small!”
I will never forget the reaction of one of the mayors in Rwanda during an advocacy workshop on family planning as we passed around a variety of modern contraceptive methods, inviting participants to open, touch, and feel them. It was his first experience holding an intrauterine device (IUD). He also had never touched a female condom or seen a contraceptive implant.
As eIDSR’s intended users are mostly new to smartphone use, eHA simplified the user interface and designed it to closely resemble familiar paper reporting forms. Photo: Les de Wit, Software Project Manager, eHealth Africa
eHealth Africa (eHA) is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners to support Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) to strengthen surveillance for all priority diseases and improve preparedness for potential public health emergencies.
Every day, we see children in our offices with cough, fast breathing, and fever. If we take an x-ray, there may be clear signs of pneumonia. We treat that pneumonia with amoxicillin and at a follow-up visit a week later, the child will invariably be happy, smiling, and healthy. Unfortunately, across the world, 900,000 children die each year from this treatable disease, and more than half do not even seek treatment for it.
From June 6-8, 2017, K4Health Director Tara Sullivan and USAID LEARN Chief of Party Piers Bocock will once again offer a course as part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Summer Institite in Baltimore, Maryland.
This spring, K4Health is featuring the latest essential evidence, tools, and expert commentary on family planning advocacy. One thing K4Health’s new web page on Advocating for Family Planning Policy makes clear is that advocacy is absolutely essential for reaching women and families with access to life-saving contraceptive information and services. But this is easier said than done. Advocacy can be intimidating—especially if, like me and others who recently attended Advance Family Planning’s (AFP) workshop, you are fairly new to the advocacy and policy realm.
Benin — a beautiful, small, Francophone West African country with 11 million inhabitants – has a history of low family planning use due in part to conservative cultural and social norms. With a current unmet need for family planning of 36.3%, and a contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) for modern methods of 16.1%, Benin lags behind its sub-Saharan African peers in key reproductive health indicators.
Twenty-five years ago, The Lancet published a seminal article by Jim Shelton, Marcia Angle and Roy Jacobstein. “Medical Barriers to Access to Family Planning”1 had a huge influence, galvanizing global efforts to improve access to contraceptive services. That same year, 1992, Depo Provera (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate [DMPA]) was finally approved for contraceptive use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after decades of controversy.