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Health and sexual and reproductive rights

The USI has been involved in sexual and reproductive health projects since 1990.

It implements skill building strategies with health personnel and communities. The USI is also developing strategies aimed at improving the organization and quality of health services to improve supply and thus encourage increased demand.

In addition, community mobilization strategies are implemented to increase the use of services.

Much of our efforts first focused on maternal and neonatal health in order to help reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, a priority issue in many countries. These actions were anchored in a gender equality strategy and supported the improvement of women’s decision-making power and their better access to health resources.

Subsequently, these interventions were extended to the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, fostering an approach centred on human rights. Indeed, women are at the heart of issues regarding sexual and reproductive health and rights and are often much more affected than men, due to physiological and social factors.

Some examples of our involvement :

- Support for better access to health services by training health personnel in basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care, by building/renovating health centres and their equipment, by supporting the establishment of maternity waiting homes;

- Support for the improvement of the quality of health services by setting up maternal death audit committees and quality committees as well as through the training of personnel on rights and health;

-  Support for strategies to combat gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation/excision and child marriage;

-  Strengthening of committees to fight against practices that are harmful to the health and of committees for national gender policy institutionalization;

- Improvement of knowledge concerning sexual and reproductive health and related rights, notably menstrual health.