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First Lady of The Gambia Mrs Fatoumatta Barrow supports Fistula Strategic and Resources Mobilisation Meeting

11 April 2018
The First Lady of The Gambia Mrs Fatoumatta Barrow with Mr Sosthene DOUGROU, Regional TS Health System Strengthening/ Maternal Health Focal Point, ECOWAS, WAHO,  USAID and EngenderHealth representatives.
The First Lady of The Gambia Mrs Fatoumatta Barrow with Mr Sosthene DOUGROU, Regional TS Health System Strengthening/ Maternal Health Focal Point, ECOWAS, WAHO, USAID and EngenderHealth representatives.

The openning ceremony was chaired by the First Lady of the Gambia Mrs Fatoumatta Barrow.

A 3 days Regional Technical and Resources Mobilization Meeting in Banjul from 5 to 7 March 2018 with the participation of ECOWAS, WAHO, UNFPA, USAID and EngenderHealth. The main objective was to develop and update a roadmap of interventions to eliminate fistula in West Africa and to institutionalize a regional platform of partners work in a coordinated manner. 

In 2017, ECOWAS First Ladies met in Niamey for a forum to affirm their resolve to eliminate obstetric fistula, female genital mutilation, as well as gender-, female- and youth-based violence. As a result, the First Ladies issued a declaration urging West African Heads of State to allocate 3% of national budget to implementat action plans on child protection, elimination of female genital mutilation and obstetric fistula and to define harmonized indicators on obstetric fistula in their national health information systems.

The gravity of the situation requires that all stakeholders quickly move beyond declarations of intent to consolidate and scale-up existing initiatives and building partnerships to mobilize the necessary resources to generate a critical mass needed to transform people's lives.

The regional fistula response has been costed but not yet implemented due to lack of resources. Since, the regional situation is characterized by limited or lack of funds for specific obstetric fistula activities/services and the direct cost of obstetric fistula repair and post-operative care cannot be afforded by patients, it is more than ever urgent to pull together available ressources and commit to End Obstetric Fistula within a Generation through a strong regional financial and technical partnership. The momentum created by the recent summit of ECOWAS First Ladies and the creation of the West and Central African Group to End Obstetric Fistula needs to be seized upon to move this agenda forward.

It was against this background that, ECOWAS, WAHO, UNFPA, USAID and EngenderHealth organized the 3 day Regional Technical and Resources Mobilization Meeting in The Gambia. The Regional meeting convened technical and program experts to focus on intensifying efforts to eliminate fistula in the region. The main objective was to develop and update a roadmap of interventions to fistula elimination in West Africa and institutionalize a regional platform of partners that will be working in a coordinated manner.

The key achievements of the meeting were the :

- Formalisation of the West and Central African Group to End Obstetric Fistula

- Establishment of three sub-working groups on advocacy and resource mobilization; capacity building; and observatory of fistula in west and central Africa

- Banjul call for Action

- Preparation and adoption by ECOWAS of a Resolution on Obstetric Fistula
 
- Preparation of a donors conference in Abuja in 2018