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Gynaecological

Articles by Gynaecological

Healthcare worker at a mobile clinic
16 February 2016

Evidence Project

Under the Evidence project, IPPF is undertaking innovative research on respecting, protecting and promoting human rights in family planning/reproductive health services and ensuring community voices are part of efforts to improve and strengthen family planning programming. The Evidence Project uses implementation science to improve family planning policies, programs, and practices. Led by the Population Council in partnership with INDEPTH Network, International Planned Parenthood Federation, PATH, Population Reference Bureau, and the project’s University Resource Network, the five-year project (2013–2018) is investigating which strategies work best in improving, expanding, and sustaining family planning services. IPPF is leading on two cross-cutting areas of research. Firstly under the Evidence project, we are undertaking research on how the respect and protection of human rights of women and girls can be instituted and operationalised, and how programs can be held accountable for providing high-quality services. http://evidenceproject.popcouncil.org/technical-areas-and-activities/equity-rights-and-accountability. In order to address the need for indicators and tools for rights based family planning, the Evidence Project has partnered with global experts on human rights and family planning, the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Sustainable Network Project (SIFPO/IPPF) and with colleagues at Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) to develop and validate the Rights-Based Family Planning (RBFP) Service Delivery Index in Uganda. This is work is being undertaken in close collaboration with the Economic Policy Research Centre Uganda and University College London.  In addition, we are undertaking a variety of activities that aim to contribute to a deeper knowledge of whether and how the implementation of accountability mechanisms in family planning and reproductive health programs improves clients’ access to and quality of services.   For example, a multi-site case study in Uganda uses process evaluation methodology to explore the implementation of two social accountability programs, aiming to determine what hinders and facilitates engagement at the community level and its translation into improved social accountability processes and reproductive health outcomes.   http://evidenceproject.popcouncil.org/accountability-mechanisms-to-improve-family-planning-and-reproductive-health-programs/  

Girls Decide landing image
30 June 2016

Girls Decide

This programme addresses critical challenges faced by young women around sexual health and sexuality. It has produced a range of advocacy, education and informational materials to support research, awareness-raising, advocacy and service delivery.    Girls Decide is about the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women. Around the world, girls aged 10 to 19 account for 23% of all disease associated with pregnancy and childbirth. An estimated 2.5 million have unsafe abortions every year. Worldwide, young women account for 60% of the 5.5 million young people living with HIV and/or AIDS. Girls Decide has produced a range of advocacy, education and informational materials to support work to improve sexual health and rights for girls and young women. These include a series of films on sexual and reproductive health decisions faced by 6 young women in 6 different countries. The films won the prestigious International Video and Communications Award (IVCA). When girls and young women have access to critical lifesaving services and information, and when they are able to make meaningful choices about their life path, they are empowered. Their quality of life improves, as does the well-being of their families and the communities in which they live. Their collective ability to achieve internationally agreed development goals is strengthened. Almost all IPPF Member Associations provide services to young people and 1 in every 3 clients is a young person below the age of 25. All young women and girls are rights-holders and are entitled to sexual and reproductive rights. As a matter of principle, the IPPF Secretariat and Member Associations stand by girls by respecting and fulfilling their right to high quality services; they stand up for girls by supporting them in making their own decisions related to sexuality and pregnancy; they stand for sexual and reproductive rights by addressing the challenges faced by young women and girls at local, national and international levels.

01 December 2016

Japan Trust Fund for HIV and reproductive health

The Japan Trust Fund for HIV and Reproductive Health is built on the three pillars Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.  i.e. Reduce child mortality and improve maternal health by strengthening health systems through use of EMBRACE approach Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria: Scale up effective interventions through the Global Fund to fight against HIV/ADIS, tuberculosis and malaria. Public Health Emergencies: Provide support to respond to global public health emergencies and health crises due to natural disasters and conflicts, thereby contributing to peace-building and community stabilization In Africa the fund is granted to programmes in Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Ghana, Swaziland, Zambia and Senegal where we deliver mother to child health services through the EMBRACE model increase access to sexual and reproductive health services to most vulnerable women and girls including post conflict/emergency settings promote innovative service delivery models for SRHR and HIV services (sometimes in partnership with the Japanese multinational companies) JTF allocated funds for M&E and capacity building as one of the priorities of the initiative is to increase capacity of Member Associations on new thematic areas as well as develop innovative service delivery models. The projects are operational for a maximum of two years.   

Nigeria_IPPF_George Osodi
04 February 2022

Accessing Cervical Cancer Services and Healthcare in Nigeria

By Maryanne W. Waweru Cervical cancer, a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, is ranked as the fourth most common cancer among women globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). About 90% of the new cases and deaths worldwide in 2020 occurred in low and middle-income countries. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa experience a disproportionate burden of the disease, where 19 of the top 20 countries with the highest cervical cancer burden were in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018. In the West African country of Nigeria, over 12,000 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually (estimations for 2020) and it is the second most common female cancer in women aged 15 - 44 years in the country. IPPF’s Member Association in Nigeria, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) is involved in various efforts aimed at increasing access to cervical screening and treatment in the country. PPFN’s efforts are geared towards closing the gap in cancer care in the country, complementing Government and other stakeholders’ efforts to increase access to life-saving preventive services, diagnosis, treatment and care. Recipients of PPFN’s cervical cancer services include women living with HIV, who are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer compared to women without HIV. PPFN uses the Visual Inspection of the Cervix with Acetic Acid (VIA) screening and cryotherapy treatment approaches across its 45 clinics spread over 36 states in Nigeria. It also offers these services in over 100 associate health facilities across the country. Eliminating the cost barrier Dr. Abubakar Okai Aku, a PPFN healthcare service provider says cancer services at all PPFN and associate health facilities are offered at an affordable, subsidized cost which enables more women to access the services. High medical fees are a significant barrier to people’s access to healthcare. Additionally, PPFN conducts mobile outreach clinics offering a wide range of sexual reproductive health services, including cancer services, to vulnerable communities in hard-to-reach, poor and marginalized areas. These areas, mostly in the countryside, have no proper road infrastructure and have few and poorly equipped health facilities. In some areas, insecurity challenges hinder access to health services. “PPFN accesses these areas by working with local Governmental authorities, the primary healthcare system and local community structures that include community health volunteers, chiefs, religious leaders and other gatekeepers to enhance our outreach work,” says Dr. Abubakar. He notes that since many women in these areas cannot afford the services, PPFN offers the services for free. Referrals are also made to PPFN’s nearest static clinics, as well as Government health facilities - with whom the organization collaborates closely.   Husband’s permission to access health services PPFN’s work in the community is however not without challenges. According to Dr. Abubakar, they must contend with cultural factors that hinder women’s access to reproductive health services. For example, some men do not allow their female partners or household members to go to the clinic without their permission and when they allow them to, they would only allow it under certain conditions. “The husbands tell the service providers to first come to their house and explain the services they wish to offer to their wife or wives. Sometimes they grant permission, other times they don’t. Many women in rural communities are often not in full control  of their own health. Since many don’t work, they not only have to ask their husbands for permission to go to the clinic or attend mobile outreaches, but they also need money for transport and for treatment. To this end, PPFN works with male champions in the community, sensitizing them on the need to empower women and enabling them to take charge of their own health,” says Dr. Abubakar. Dr. Abubakar also notes that misinformation, stigma and ostracization around women’s cancers also prevents many women from seeking cancer screening, treatment and care services. “We have seen women present with cancers at an advanced stage, leading to negative health outcomes. PPFN diligently works with local community structures to dispel myths and rumors about cancer, educating them and encouraging them to seek prevention and treatment services,” he says. PPFN is committed to addressing gaps with regard to cervical cancer prevention, treatment and care services in the country. Learn more: Closing the Cervical Cancer Care Gap in Nigeria. Maryanne W. Waweru is the Communications Officer, IPPF Africa Regional Office. For more updates on our work, follow IPPF Africa Region on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

IPPF_Xaume Olleros_Cameroon
20 January 2022

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Stepping Up Awareness on Vaccination, Screening and Treatment in Africa

By Monica Mwai Cervical cancer awareness month is observed every year in January. Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in reproductive-aged women globally. According to the United Nations, an estimated 342,000 women out of the 604,000 diagnosed with the disease died after complications in 2020. Cervical cancer presents a significant public health threat to women in sub-Saharan Africa with 19 of the top 20 countries with the highest cervical cancer burden in 2018, with Eswatini having the highest incident rate in the world with 75.3 % of age standardized incidence per 100,000 women followed closely by Malawi with 72.9 %. Cervical cancer is caused by long-lasting infection of certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact. All women are at risk of developing cervical cancer, however it is more prevalent among women aged 25 to 49 years, and women living with HIV. In its early stages there are usually no noticeable signs or symptoms, while in its more advanced stages one may experience symptoms such as unusual vaginal bleeding between periods, during and after sex, unusual vaginal discharge, and heavy periods that continue for longer than usual. Screening is used to detect precancerous changes. It is a quick and simple process that can be done through two tests – the Pap test which checks if the cervical cells are normal and an HPV test which helps detect the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause these cell changes. For both tests, the doctor will use a plastic or metal instrument, called a speculum, to examine the vagina and the cervix, and collect a few cells and mucus from the cervix and the area around it. The cells will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Getting pap tests is recommended for women from the age of 21 with another test being done after every three years in their twenties. Women aged 30-65 have three options - they can have a Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every 5 years, a Pap test alone every 3 years or they can have HPV testing alone every 5 years. While cervical cancer is highly preventable and treatable if detected early, it is the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide. Due to poor access to screening and treatment services, more than 90% of deaths occur in women living in low- and middle- income countries. Most women and young girls in Africa, do not get vaccinated against the disease despite the vaccine being the most effective way to prevent cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening is also a challenge with most women fearing the unknown and/or having very limited access to information on preventive measures and screening services. The situation is worsened by incapacitated public health facilities, limiting access to these services with most African countries having yet to implement screening and vaccination programmes. The International Planned Parenthood Africa Region (IPPFAR) is working on reducing the burden on Africa by having enabled 4,673,309 people to access cervical cancer healthcare services in 2020. Among the successful initiatives by IPPFAR, is the single visit approach also referred to as the “Screen and Treat” approach which is part of the Cervical Cancer Screening and Preventive Therapy (CCSPT) project - supported by the Gates Foundation - through its member associations in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is an effective and cost-efficient method of screening and treatment carried out in one single visit. Its main advantage relies in its accessibility to a wider number of women especially in hard-to-reach areas with often inadequate or limited resources. More IPPFAR member associations such as in Togo and Burundi have continued to implement this strategy. In 2021, IPPFAR also offered technical support in a public engagement campaign in Kenya conducted by SCOPE, known as the Kizazi Chetu campaign. Addressing Cervical cancer is part of IPPF’s core mandate, which includes providing an integrated package of essential sexual and reproductive health and rights services. IPPF has also developed a Cervical Cancer Strategic plan 2020 – 2024 which focuses on working towards eliminating cervical cancer through integrated sexual and reproductive healthcare services, the single-visit approach and cervical cancer working groups. More efforts need to be implemented to reduce the cervical cancer burden by vaccinating more girls who have not yet been exposed to the virus, screening more women, and a timely response to women diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells. And we all have a responsibility: Governments should implement more vaccination and screening programs nationwide, invest more resources in equipping hospitals to offer treatment services, and ensure they create awareness for more people to access these services; Civil society organizations should help support more campaigns to raise community awareness and hold the Government accountable to avail more resources to provide vaccination and screening services; The public should also take the initiative of availing themselves for screening and young girls for vaccination as these actions save lives. Also read: Monica Mwai's Experiences with Sexual Reproductive Health Information and Services as a Female Campus Student Monica Mwai is a Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate and IPPF Africa Region Intern in the External Relations, Advocacy and Communications Department. For more updates on our work, follow IPPF Africa Region on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

The Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance
24 August 2021

Communique to the SADC Heads of States and Government (13 August 2021)

This is the communique which was generated during a meeting held on 13 August 2021 by the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance and SRHR partners in Malawi, in which our Member Association -Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) participated and contributed financially and technically. This was held on the sidelines of the 41st Southern African Development Community SADC Heads of States Summit.

BMZ Project: Supporting Refugees And Internally Displaced People in Cameroon
19 August 2021

BMZ Project: Supporting Refugees And Displaced People in Cameroon

Fané Zara, a Central African Republic (CAR) refugee who lives in Cameroon, was forced to leave her country because of conflict and is now a volunteer helping her community access sexual and reproductive health care thanks to support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and The Cameroon National Planning Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW) our Member Association in Cameroon. The BMZ project provided sexual and reproductive health care to 317 000 people in Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Togo – 62% of whom were refugees or internally displaced people.

Guinean Association for Family Welfare (AGBEF
23 February 2021

Anchoring the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in West and Central Africa: visit of a high-level mission to Senegal and Guinea

From January 24 to February 15, 2021, an high-level mission of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) conducted by the Regional Director for Africa, Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, went respectively to Senegal and Guinea to explore opportunities to better anchor the IPPF action in West and Central Africa through the establishment of a new sub-office  and the strengthening and diversifying of its partnerships in the region. In Senegal, the mission met with relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Youth, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Family and Gender, the Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the Cooperation to lay the foundations for the opening of a new IPPFARO sub-office for West and Central Africa in the country.  This new sub-office will enable IPPF to better support its West and Central Africa member associations and increase its local relevance and partnership with human rights and development organizations, sub-regional economic commissions and the donor community in this part of Africa. The authorities met by the delegation encouraged this initiative. According to Jean Antoine Diouf, Chief of Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "IPPF's support to access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services is much appreciated and reinforces the actions of African governments ".The Ministry of Youth, Néné Fatoumata Tall, also expressed her enthusiasm regarding the future establishment of a sub-office of IPPF in Senegal, wishing for frank collaboration between her department and IPPF on youth issues. “The changing environment and the high-demand for SRHR services would be better served by an IPPF presence in the sub-region,” she said. The mission also held discussions with international organizations working in the same fields as IPPF such as Amnesty regional office for West and Central Africa, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and OXFAM with a view to creating joint programs and projects or strengthening existing partnerships with a special focus on the support, protection and defense of Human Rights Defenders working in the field of reproductive health and rights. In Guinea, the delegation met with the IPPF Member Association “Guinean Association for Family Welfare (AGBEF)” to finalize the Association's accreditation process, and visit some of its SRHR delivery facilities.  An affiliate member of IPPF since 1989, AGBEF is a Guinean non-profit NGO, founded in 1984  with the aim of reducing infant and maternal mortality in Guinea. Today it provides a wide range of SRHR services including family planning, child delivery, screening and care for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), comprehensive sexuality education and SRHR training courses. The delegation also held meetings with Guinean authorities, including the First Lady, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of education, to discuss the strengthening of the collaboration framework between the country and IPPF in the field of SRHR in Guinea, and more particularly on CSE. During her meeting, the First Lady, Conde Djene Kaba expressed her gratitude to IPPF and its partner AGBEF for the efforts made since 1984 to provide quality sexual and reproductive health services in Guinea. She welcomed the visit of IPPF's Regional Director to the country and expressed her unwavering support for AGBEF's initiatives for young people, women and underserved populations in Guinea. The high-level mission was concluded with a visit to the NGO Solidarité Suisse-Guinée in Labe, south of Guinea, to assess the possibility of a collaborative partnership in the fields of SRHR, including the fight against female genital mutilation. During this visit, the delegation had opportunity to visit the NGO's grassroots achievements among which three community health centres providing sexual and reproductive health services with financial support from the NGO Solidarité. The managers of the various centres warmly welcomed the mission, testified to the importance of the current and future support provided by the NGO to their structures to meet the growing needs of the local populations in terms of health in general and SSHR in particular. The discussions held with the Governments of Senegal and Guinea, as well as the different international organizations working in the same field as IPPF laid the groundwork for future collaboration on SRHR issues in general and protection and defense of Human rights defenders working in the field of reproductive health and rights in particular. The visits to IPPFARO member association and collaborative partners in these two countries also reinforced the federation’s cohesion with a view to better address challenges and better serve populations.

Gallianne Palayret
23 December 2020

Happy Holidays from IPPF Africa Region

Happy Holidays from IPPF Africa Region.

Gallianne Palayret
23 December 2020

Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année de la part du bureau Afrique d’IPPF

Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année de la part du bureau Afrique d’IPPF.

Healthcare worker at a mobile clinic
16 February 2016

Evidence Project

Under the Evidence project, IPPF is undertaking innovative research on respecting, protecting and promoting human rights in family planning/reproductive health services and ensuring community voices are part of efforts to improve and strengthen family planning programming. The Evidence Project uses implementation science to improve family planning policies, programs, and practices. Led by the Population Council in partnership with INDEPTH Network, International Planned Parenthood Federation, PATH, Population Reference Bureau, and the project’s University Resource Network, the five-year project (2013–2018) is investigating which strategies work best in improving, expanding, and sustaining family planning services. IPPF is leading on two cross-cutting areas of research. Firstly under the Evidence project, we are undertaking research on how the respect and protection of human rights of women and girls can be instituted and operationalised, and how programs can be held accountable for providing high-quality services. http://evidenceproject.popcouncil.org/technical-areas-and-activities/equity-rights-and-accountability. In order to address the need for indicators and tools for rights based family planning, the Evidence Project has partnered with global experts on human rights and family planning, the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Sustainable Network Project (SIFPO/IPPF) and with colleagues at Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) to develop and validate the Rights-Based Family Planning (RBFP) Service Delivery Index in Uganda. This is work is being undertaken in close collaboration with the Economic Policy Research Centre Uganda and University College London.  In addition, we are undertaking a variety of activities that aim to contribute to a deeper knowledge of whether and how the implementation of accountability mechanisms in family planning and reproductive health programs improves clients’ access to and quality of services.   For example, a multi-site case study in Uganda uses process evaluation methodology to explore the implementation of two social accountability programs, aiming to determine what hinders and facilitates engagement at the community level and its translation into improved social accountability processes and reproductive health outcomes.   http://evidenceproject.popcouncil.org/accountability-mechanisms-to-improve-family-planning-and-reproductive-health-programs/  

Girls Decide landing image
30 June 2016

Girls Decide

This programme addresses critical challenges faced by young women around sexual health and sexuality. It has produced a range of advocacy, education and informational materials to support research, awareness-raising, advocacy and service delivery.    Girls Decide is about the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and young women. Around the world, girls aged 10 to 19 account for 23% of all disease associated with pregnancy and childbirth. An estimated 2.5 million have unsafe abortions every year. Worldwide, young women account for 60% of the 5.5 million young people living with HIV and/or AIDS. Girls Decide has produced a range of advocacy, education and informational materials to support work to improve sexual health and rights for girls and young women. These include a series of films on sexual and reproductive health decisions faced by 6 young women in 6 different countries. The films won the prestigious International Video and Communications Award (IVCA). When girls and young women have access to critical lifesaving services and information, and when they are able to make meaningful choices about their life path, they are empowered. Their quality of life improves, as does the well-being of their families and the communities in which they live. Their collective ability to achieve internationally agreed development goals is strengthened. Almost all IPPF Member Associations provide services to young people and 1 in every 3 clients is a young person below the age of 25. All young women and girls are rights-holders and are entitled to sexual and reproductive rights. As a matter of principle, the IPPF Secretariat and Member Associations stand by girls by respecting and fulfilling their right to high quality services; they stand up for girls by supporting them in making their own decisions related to sexuality and pregnancy; they stand for sexual and reproductive rights by addressing the challenges faced by young women and girls at local, national and international levels.

01 December 2016

Japan Trust Fund for HIV and reproductive health

The Japan Trust Fund for HIV and Reproductive Health is built on the three pillars Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.  i.e. Reduce child mortality and improve maternal health by strengthening health systems through use of EMBRACE approach Infectious Diseases: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria: Scale up effective interventions through the Global Fund to fight against HIV/ADIS, tuberculosis and malaria. Public Health Emergencies: Provide support to respond to global public health emergencies and health crises due to natural disasters and conflicts, thereby contributing to peace-building and community stabilization In Africa the fund is granted to programmes in Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Ghana, Swaziland, Zambia and Senegal where we deliver mother to child health services through the EMBRACE model increase access to sexual and reproductive health services to most vulnerable women and girls including post conflict/emergency settings promote innovative service delivery models for SRHR and HIV services (sometimes in partnership with the Japanese multinational companies) JTF allocated funds for M&E and capacity building as one of the priorities of the initiative is to increase capacity of Member Associations on new thematic areas as well as develop innovative service delivery models. The projects are operational for a maximum of two years.   

Nigeria_IPPF_George Osodi
04 February 2022

Accessing Cervical Cancer Services and Healthcare in Nigeria

By Maryanne W. Waweru Cervical cancer, a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix, is ranked as the fourth most common cancer among women globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). About 90% of the new cases and deaths worldwide in 2020 occurred in low and middle-income countries. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa experience a disproportionate burden of the disease, where 19 of the top 20 countries with the highest cervical cancer burden were in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018. In the West African country of Nigeria, over 12,000 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed annually (estimations for 2020) and it is the second most common female cancer in women aged 15 - 44 years in the country. IPPF’s Member Association in Nigeria, the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) is involved in various efforts aimed at increasing access to cervical screening and treatment in the country. PPFN’s efforts are geared towards closing the gap in cancer care in the country, complementing Government and other stakeholders’ efforts to increase access to life-saving preventive services, diagnosis, treatment and care. Recipients of PPFN’s cervical cancer services include women living with HIV, who are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer compared to women without HIV. PPFN uses the Visual Inspection of the Cervix with Acetic Acid (VIA) screening and cryotherapy treatment approaches across its 45 clinics spread over 36 states in Nigeria. It also offers these services in over 100 associate health facilities across the country. Eliminating the cost barrier Dr. Abubakar Okai Aku, a PPFN healthcare service provider says cancer services at all PPFN and associate health facilities are offered at an affordable, subsidized cost which enables more women to access the services. High medical fees are a significant barrier to people’s access to healthcare. Additionally, PPFN conducts mobile outreach clinics offering a wide range of sexual reproductive health services, including cancer services, to vulnerable communities in hard-to-reach, poor and marginalized areas. These areas, mostly in the countryside, have no proper road infrastructure and have few and poorly equipped health facilities. In some areas, insecurity challenges hinder access to health services. “PPFN accesses these areas by working with local Governmental authorities, the primary healthcare system and local community structures that include community health volunteers, chiefs, religious leaders and other gatekeepers to enhance our outreach work,” says Dr. Abubakar. He notes that since many women in these areas cannot afford the services, PPFN offers the services for free. Referrals are also made to PPFN’s nearest static clinics, as well as Government health facilities - with whom the organization collaborates closely.   Husband’s permission to access health services PPFN’s work in the community is however not without challenges. According to Dr. Abubakar, they must contend with cultural factors that hinder women’s access to reproductive health services. For example, some men do not allow their female partners or household members to go to the clinic without their permission and when they allow them to, they would only allow it under certain conditions. “The husbands tell the service providers to first come to their house and explain the services they wish to offer to their wife or wives. Sometimes they grant permission, other times they don’t. Many women in rural communities are often not in full control  of their own health. Since many don’t work, they not only have to ask their husbands for permission to go to the clinic or attend mobile outreaches, but they also need money for transport and for treatment. To this end, PPFN works with male champions in the community, sensitizing them on the need to empower women and enabling them to take charge of their own health,” says Dr. Abubakar. Dr. Abubakar also notes that misinformation, stigma and ostracization around women’s cancers also prevents many women from seeking cancer screening, treatment and care services. “We have seen women present with cancers at an advanced stage, leading to negative health outcomes. PPFN diligently works with local community structures to dispel myths and rumors about cancer, educating them and encouraging them to seek prevention and treatment services,” he says. PPFN is committed to addressing gaps with regard to cervical cancer prevention, treatment and care services in the country. Learn more: Closing the Cervical Cancer Care Gap in Nigeria. Maryanne W. Waweru is the Communications Officer, IPPF Africa Regional Office. For more updates on our work, follow IPPF Africa Region on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

IPPF_Xaume Olleros_Cameroon
20 January 2022

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: Stepping Up Awareness on Vaccination, Screening and Treatment in Africa

By Monica Mwai Cervical cancer awareness month is observed every year in January. Cervical cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related deaths in reproductive-aged women globally. According to the United Nations, an estimated 342,000 women out of the 604,000 diagnosed with the disease died after complications in 2020. Cervical cancer presents a significant public health threat to women in sub-Saharan Africa with 19 of the top 20 countries with the highest cervical cancer burden in 2018, with Eswatini having the highest incident rate in the world with 75.3 % of age standardized incidence per 100,000 women followed closely by Malawi with 72.9 %. Cervical cancer is caused by long-lasting infection of certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through sexual contact. All women are at risk of developing cervical cancer, however it is more prevalent among women aged 25 to 49 years, and women living with HIV. In its early stages there are usually no noticeable signs or symptoms, while in its more advanced stages one may experience symptoms such as unusual vaginal bleeding between periods, during and after sex, unusual vaginal discharge, and heavy periods that continue for longer than usual. Screening is used to detect precancerous changes. It is a quick and simple process that can be done through two tests – the Pap test which checks if the cervical cells are normal and an HPV test which helps detect the presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause these cell changes. For both tests, the doctor will use a plastic or metal instrument, called a speculum, to examine the vagina and the cervix, and collect a few cells and mucus from the cervix and the area around it. The cells will then be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Getting pap tests is recommended for women from the age of 21 with another test being done after every three years in their twenties. Women aged 30-65 have three options - they can have a Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every 5 years, a Pap test alone every 3 years or they can have HPV testing alone every 5 years. While cervical cancer is highly preventable and treatable if detected early, it is the second most common type of cancer in women worldwide. Due to poor access to screening and treatment services, more than 90% of deaths occur in women living in low- and middle- income countries. Most women and young girls in Africa, do not get vaccinated against the disease despite the vaccine being the most effective way to prevent cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer screening is also a challenge with most women fearing the unknown and/or having very limited access to information on preventive measures and screening services. The situation is worsened by incapacitated public health facilities, limiting access to these services with most African countries having yet to implement screening and vaccination programmes. The International Planned Parenthood Africa Region (IPPFAR) is working on reducing the burden on Africa by having enabled 4,673,309 people to access cervical cancer healthcare services in 2020. Among the successful initiatives by IPPFAR, is the single visit approach also referred to as the “Screen and Treat” approach which is part of the Cervical Cancer Screening and Preventive Therapy (CCSPT) project - supported by the Gates Foundation - through its member associations in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. It is an effective and cost-efficient method of screening and treatment carried out in one single visit. Its main advantage relies in its accessibility to a wider number of women especially in hard-to-reach areas with often inadequate or limited resources. More IPPFAR member associations such as in Togo and Burundi have continued to implement this strategy. In 2021, IPPFAR also offered technical support in a public engagement campaign in Kenya conducted by SCOPE, known as the Kizazi Chetu campaign. Addressing Cervical cancer is part of IPPF’s core mandate, which includes providing an integrated package of essential sexual and reproductive health and rights services. IPPF has also developed a Cervical Cancer Strategic plan 2020 – 2024 which focuses on working towards eliminating cervical cancer through integrated sexual and reproductive healthcare services, the single-visit approach and cervical cancer working groups. More efforts need to be implemented to reduce the cervical cancer burden by vaccinating more girls who have not yet been exposed to the virus, screening more women, and a timely response to women diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells. And we all have a responsibility: Governments should implement more vaccination and screening programs nationwide, invest more resources in equipping hospitals to offer treatment services, and ensure they create awareness for more people to access these services; Civil society organizations should help support more campaigns to raise community awareness and hold the Government accountable to avail more resources to provide vaccination and screening services; The public should also take the initiative of availing themselves for screening and young girls for vaccination as these actions save lives. Also read: Monica Mwai's Experiences with Sexual Reproductive Health Information and Services as a Female Campus Student Monica Mwai is a Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Advocate and IPPF Africa Region Intern in the External Relations, Advocacy and Communications Department. For more updates on our work, follow IPPF Africa Region on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

The Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance
24 August 2021

Communique to the SADC Heads of States and Government (13 August 2021)

This is the communique which was generated during a meeting held on 13 August 2021 by the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance and SRHR partners in Malawi, in which our Member Association -Family Planning Association of Malawi (FPAM) participated and contributed financially and technically. This was held on the sidelines of the 41st Southern African Development Community SADC Heads of States Summit.

BMZ Project: Supporting Refugees And Internally Displaced People in Cameroon
19 August 2021

BMZ Project: Supporting Refugees And Displaced People in Cameroon

Fané Zara, a Central African Republic (CAR) refugee who lives in Cameroon, was forced to leave her country because of conflict and is now a volunteer helping her community access sexual and reproductive health care thanks to support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and The Cameroon National Planning Association for Family Welfare (CAMNAFAW) our Member Association in Cameroon. The BMZ project provided sexual and reproductive health care to 317 000 people in Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Togo – 62% of whom were refugees or internally displaced people.

Guinean Association for Family Welfare (AGBEF
23 February 2021

Anchoring the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in West and Central Africa: visit of a high-level mission to Senegal and Guinea

From January 24 to February 15, 2021, an high-level mission of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) conducted by the Regional Director for Africa, Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, went respectively to Senegal and Guinea to explore opportunities to better anchor the IPPF action in West and Central Africa through the establishment of a new sub-office  and the strengthening and diversifying of its partnerships in the region. In Senegal, the mission met with relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Youth, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Women, Family and Gender, the Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Director of the Cooperation to lay the foundations for the opening of a new IPPFARO sub-office for West and Central Africa in the country.  This new sub-office will enable IPPF to better support its West and Central Africa member associations and increase its local relevance and partnership with human rights and development organizations, sub-regional economic commissions and the donor community in this part of Africa. The authorities met by the delegation encouraged this initiative. According to Jean Antoine Diouf, Chief of Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "IPPF's support to access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services is much appreciated and reinforces the actions of African governments ".The Ministry of Youth, Néné Fatoumata Tall, also expressed her enthusiasm regarding the future establishment of a sub-office of IPPF in Senegal, wishing for frank collaboration between her department and IPPF on youth issues. “The changing environment and the high-demand for SRHR services would be better served by an IPPF presence in the sub-region,” she said. The mission also held discussions with international organizations working in the same fields as IPPF such as Amnesty regional office for West and Central Africa, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and OXFAM with a view to creating joint programs and projects or strengthening existing partnerships with a special focus on the support, protection and defense of Human Rights Defenders working in the field of reproductive health and rights. In Guinea, the delegation met with the IPPF Member Association “Guinean Association for Family Welfare (AGBEF)” to finalize the Association's accreditation process, and visit some of its SRHR delivery facilities.  An affiliate member of IPPF since 1989, AGBEF is a Guinean non-profit NGO, founded in 1984  with the aim of reducing infant and maternal mortality in Guinea. Today it provides a wide range of SRHR services including family planning, child delivery, screening and care for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), comprehensive sexuality education and SRHR training courses. The delegation also held meetings with Guinean authorities, including the First Lady, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of education, to discuss the strengthening of the collaboration framework between the country and IPPF in the field of SRHR in Guinea, and more particularly on CSE. During her meeting, the First Lady, Conde Djene Kaba expressed her gratitude to IPPF and its partner AGBEF for the efforts made since 1984 to provide quality sexual and reproductive health services in Guinea. She welcomed the visit of IPPF's Regional Director to the country and expressed her unwavering support for AGBEF's initiatives for young people, women and underserved populations in Guinea. The high-level mission was concluded with a visit to the NGO Solidarité Suisse-Guinée in Labe, south of Guinea, to assess the possibility of a collaborative partnership in the fields of SRHR, including the fight against female genital mutilation. During this visit, the delegation had opportunity to visit the NGO's grassroots achievements among which three community health centres providing sexual and reproductive health services with financial support from the NGO Solidarité. The managers of the various centres warmly welcomed the mission, testified to the importance of the current and future support provided by the NGO to their structures to meet the growing needs of the local populations in terms of health in general and SSHR in particular. The discussions held with the Governments of Senegal and Guinea, as well as the different international organizations working in the same field as IPPF laid the groundwork for future collaboration on SRHR issues in general and protection and defense of Human rights defenders working in the field of reproductive health and rights in particular. The visits to IPPFARO member association and collaborative partners in these two countries also reinforced the federation’s cohesion with a view to better address challenges and better serve populations.

Gallianne Palayret
23 December 2020

Happy Holidays from IPPF Africa Region

Happy Holidays from IPPF Africa Region.

Gallianne Palayret
23 December 2020

Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année de la part du bureau Afrique d’IPPF

Joyeuses fêtes et bonne année de la part du bureau Afrique d’IPPF.