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Overcoming limited availability of Reproductive Health products in service centers in West and Central Africa

Overcoming limited availability of Reproductive Health products in service centers in West and Central Africa


Dakar, Senegal – 12 June 2018: One of the major causes of significant weakness in sexual and reproductive health indicators in countries in West and Central Africa is the limited availability of reproductive health (RH) products in service centers. This is largely related to the inefficiency and even critical failures of health product supply chains. Reversing this will contribute to achieving one of the key transformative results of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), zero unmet needs in Family Planning, as set out in its 2018-2021 Strategic Plan.

It is in this light that the West and Central Africa Regional Office (WCARO) of UNFPA is hosting a regional workshop, in Dakar, Senegal, from June 18 to 22, 2018 on strengthening procurement and supply chain management systems for reproductive health products (RHP).

Explicitly presented in the workshop concept note, “availability of and access to RH commodities such as contraceptives, essential medicines for emergency obstetric and neonatal care, safe and effective equipment, etc., play a vital role in promoting sexual and reproductive health and associated rights.

Expected to be opened by the UNFPA WCARO Regional Director, Mabingue Ngom, the regional workshop will see the participation of all the focal points of the 23 UNFPA Country Offices of West and Central Africa and aims to ensure the availability of RHP including contraceptives at the "last mile" and, ultimately, the countries in the region to do so in a self-sufficient way.

West and Central Africa still have very critical levels of indicators in areas related to sexual and reproductive health that place the region as the most "left behind". The following indicators illustrate that: high population growth (2.7 percent) systematically negates the benefits of economic growth; very high fertility at an average of five children per woman; maternal mortality at more than 679 deaths per 100,000 live births; an average contraceptive prevalence of only 17 percent for modern methods and unmet need for family planning at 24 percent; a predominantly young population (over 65 percent of the population is under 25 years old) but poorly educated and unemployed; sociocultural constraints that are not conducive to the development of women and girls.

In view of all these weaknesses, the region found it necessary and urgent to develop a regional action plan for strengthening reproductive health procurement and supply chain management systems.

An action plan that will serve as a reference while ensuring a regional synergy of transformation towards the effective security of SR products in the perspective of achieving the three transformational objectives of the UNFPA Strategic Plan 2018-2021 (Zero preventable maternal deaths; Zero unmet need for FP; and Zero GBV and other harmful practices) and the aspiration of the Sustainable Development Goals to "leave no one behind".