Universal access to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) is one of the key components of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 5 and contributes to the achievement of all the other SDGs. Given its critical roles therefore, WHO/AFRO is implementing a new four-year initiative, launched on 9 January 2019, to enhance existing efforts for reducing needless deaths from pregnancy in the region focusing on the provision of comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) services, within the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) framework, especially for the most vulnerable populations, including those living in humanitarian settings.
Monitoring and evaluating implementation of this SRHR initiative will be done closely through use of selected key indicators. A Regional SRHR Scorecard (an accountability tool), is thus proposed. Indeed WHO/AFRO has already contributed to the development of a similar tool for use in the South African Development Community (SADC) region and the regional scorecard tool, as envisaged, will be based on the SADC approach and experience. The proposed regional scorecard tool to be developed will be for wider use, to track SRHR progress in the entire Africa Region. It will be informed by global, regional and national commitments and is intended to become the tool for peer review and accountability. It will be used to help fast track SRHR in the region throughout the four-year program initiative and beyond.
Consequently, a workshop is convened in Johannesburg South Africa to development a regional score card to monitor progress on SRHR in the Region. Over ninety participants were drawn from 15 countries from Central, West, East and Southern Africa sub-regions including representatives from the Ministry of Health, SRHR experts from Regional Partners in SRHR (Regional NGOs, JHPIEGO, UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNWOMEN, Clinton Health Access Initiative, West African Health Organization, and African Union Commission), representatives of the WHO Regional Office, in the development, adoption and validation of the proposed Regional SRHR scorecard ensuring ownership of the tool. Participants were empowered to lead in-country efforts for implementation of the Score card and start the process of collecting initial baseline data for SRHR monitoring using the tool. Experts from Africa Leaders Malaria Alliance, Economic Community of Central African States (ALMA), WHO Regional Office facilitated various sessions of the workshop.
The sessions included updates on SRHR situation in the Sub-region and particularly in the selected high burden countries, orientation on SDGs and the WHO/SRHR initiative, orientation on the use of the Scorecard as a monitoring and evaluating accountability tool for SRHR introducing the SADC, FP2020 and other scorecards for discussion and review. A series of group works are used to come up with the draft SRHR regional scorecard and to agree on modalities for the deployment and implementation of the Scorecard tool in all countries in AFRO.