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PRESS RELEASE: Global Leaders Honor Tanzania for Addressing Reproductive Health Needs of Underserved Populations

May 20, 2014  • Elise Mann

Contact: Elise Mann
Aspen Global Health and Development
The Aspen Institute
202-322-8142 | [email protected]

 

GLOBAL LEADERS HONOR TANZANIA FOR ADDRESSING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH NEEDS FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS

2014 Resolve Award Recognizes Innovations in Service Delivery

Geneva, May 20, 2014 – Today, the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health (GLC) presents the 2014 Resolve Award for innovations in reproductive health service delivery to the Tanzanian government. The Honorable Dr. Seif Seleman Rashidi, Minister of Health of Tanzania, will accept the award at a ceremony celebrating the Resolve Award recipients during the 67th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Resolve Award honors the leadership of country governments for expanding access to essential reproductive health services and recognizes Tanzania’s innovative work to reach underserved populations, particularly women in rural areas and adolescent girls. In a country where about 50% of the population is under the age of 15, Tanzania’s adolescents are a large and growing group with a wide variety of needs.

“The needs of girls, in particular, are multisectoral,” said Dr. Fatma Mrisho of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS). “For those who are out of school, their immediate need is job security, food security, income, and educational opportunities. But that is the same girl who also needs reproductive health services, and access to information that enables her to make the right choices as far as sexuality is involved.”

To address these needs, TACAIDS, Restless Development and UNICEF partnered in a youth-led, community-centered project called “Mabinti Tushike Hatamu!” (Girls, Let’s be Leaders!).  The program enables adolescent girls to gain access to critical services and make choices impacting their safety, reproductive health, and economic and social well-being. The pilot program has reached over 7,000 individuals directly, and more than 40,000 community members indirectly, helping to change attitudes around the rights of girls and their value to society.

Nearly 75% of Tanzania’s population lives in rural areas and many rural women lack options for planning their families and accessing basic reproductive health care. “Sometimes women who live in remote areas in Tanzania have twelve or more children. Which can make them very weak,” said Dr. Feddy Mwanga of EngenderHealth. “When women in these areas learn about family planning, they have told us, ‘Thank you for saving my life.’”

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is partnering with the U.S. Agency for International Development, and others in an innovative program spearheaded by EngenderHealth to reach women and families in underserved areas. This program provides a range of reproductive health services, family planning options, and maternal and child health services, raising awareness among community leaders and cultivating their engagement and support.  Since the program’s launch in 2007, there has been a 79% increase in use of long-acting reversible contraceptives in districts that previously had the lowest rates of family planning use.

The GLC is a group of sixteen sitting and former heads of state, high-level policymakers, and other leaders who build political leadership for increased financial and technical support for reproductive health, applauds these impressive achievements and honors Tanzania with the Resolve Award for innovative service delivery.

The GLC selects Resolve Award recipients through a competitive global nominations process. In addition to Tanzania, Peru is also recognized with a Resolve Award for policy development, with special mentions to Cambodia and Afghanistan.

The Resolve Award will be presented by GLC member, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, and global champion for women and girls Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, at a public ceremony held at Domaine de Penthes in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Tanzania and other Resolve Award winners can inspire other countries,” says Dr. Kanyoro. Their work recognizes that reproductive health is connected to a broad range of development objectives, including education, livelihoods, and security. By engaging multiple sectors in strategies that meet the needs of young people, including their reproductive health needs, this year’s award winners exemplify innovative models for development.

As the global conversation shifts to the priorities that the post-2015 development agenda will hold, these leaders are pointing the way forward. “The Resolve Award winners show us the importance of universal access to reproductive health and rights, and effective strategies for making progress toward that goal,” says Dr. Kanyoro.

View the webcast of the ceremony 12:30 PM ET on May 20, 2014 at www.aspeninstitute.org/live and participate via Twitter by following @GLCRHresolve and #ResolveAward.