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The gathering at the Youth Conclave
news item

| 17 May 2022

Family Planning Association of Nepal & YUWA Amplify Youth Voices for SRHR

The conference rooms of the Radisson hotel Kathmandu were alive with the energetic chatter of youth participants on Saturday the 23rd of April as the Family Planning Association of Nepal, together with leading NGO youth platform organisation YUWA hosted a full day’s programme under the theme of ‘Advancing Youth SRHR 2022’. The event was produced with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Regional Office. With over 80 young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences in attendance, the event was produced with the aim of building networks amongst youth groups for stronger advocacy of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Nepal. “It is very important to have programs like this where the youth can take the lead” said Surakshya Giri, a long-time youth champion for FPAN and a member of the Board of Trustees at IPPF. “There is a vital need for improving the quality of CSE and evolving teaching methodologies.” “As a young person working towards Comprehensive Sexuality Education for all, we are very glad we created this space where young people of all backgrounds felt safe to voice their CSE needs.” expressed Riju Dhakal; President of YUWA. Expert Panel Sessions The event featured a thought-provoking plenary comprising of a diverse panel of experts, who shared their views on developing Nepal’s systems to meet the SRHR needs of young people. Amongst this panel was Nisha Joshi from the Family Welfare Division of Nepal’s Ministry of Health. Ms. Joshi shared the government’s vision to implement a National Health Strategy for 2022-2030 that will prioritize Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights for adolescents. She was joined by Dr Rajendra Bhadra -an eminent CSE & SRHR expert who opined that CSE should be made a mandatory national conversation, Ms. Divya Dawadi of the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) who believes strongly that Nepal needs to address the challenges of social stigma and shame towards CSE, Angel Lama from the Blue Diamond Society who stressed the importance of ensuring content on diversity, inclusivity and intersectionality in the national curriculum and Ms Anu Bista from FPAN who pointed out that advancing SRHR for young people should be the shared responsibility of multiple government and organisational stakeholders working in collaboration. “We need multi-sectoral, inter-departmental involvement and coordination if we are to bridge the gaps in social education”, said Anu. Interactive Participation The day also consisted of multiple interactive breakout sessions on SRHR topics, fun activities and SRHR-themed games, a crowd-sourced art corner, a special advocacy booth that collected participant views and demands for better CSE and booths by the event partners where participants could obtain further information and stimulus material on SRHR. One of the highlights of the programme was a highly impactful flash mob performance by young activists, depicting the reality of growing up as a trans person in South Asian society. “I loved this programme,” gushed Sarozi Niobani, an 18-year old transgender woman who participated at the event. “It was very motivating and gave me a lot of knowledge. There was inclusion, there was education, it was so much fun! Going forward, I believe it’s important for the youth in Nepal to work hand in hand with the government to ensure SRHR for everyone. Someday, I think the youth will make sure that we change society in Nepal.” The programme ended with a youth charter being developed with the collective thoughts of the participants, to form a guide for the ongoing advocacy efforts of FPAN and YUWA. For more information, press only: PR contact name: Dr. Naresh Pratap K.C. Phone number: +977-01-5010201/5010240 Email: [email protected]   For more information on FPAN – https://fpan.org   For more information on YUWA – https://www.yuwa.org.np   For more information on IPPF SARO - https://sar.ippf.org  

The gathering at the Youth Conclave
news_item

| 28 April 2022

Family Planning Association of Nepal & YUWA Amplify Youth Voices for SRHR

The conference rooms of the Radisson hotel Kathmandu were alive with the energetic chatter of youth participants on Saturday the 23rd of April as the Family Planning Association of Nepal, together with leading NGO youth platform organisation YUWA hosted a full day’s programme under the theme of ‘Advancing Youth SRHR 2022’. The event was produced with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Regional Office. With over 80 young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences in attendance, the event was produced with the aim of building networks amongst youth groups for stronger advocacy of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Nepal. “It is very important to have programs like this where the youth can take the lead” said Surakshya Giri, a long-time youth champion for FPAN and a member of the Board of Trustees at IPPF. “There is a vital need for improving the quality of CSE and evolving teaching methodologies.” “As a young person working towards Comprehensive Sexuality Education for all, we are very glad we created this space where young people of all backgrounds felt safe to voice their CSE needs.” expressed Riju Dhakal; President of YUWA. Expert Panel Sessions The event featured a thought-provoking plenary comprising of a diverse panel of experts, who shared their views on developing Nepal’s systems to meet the SRHR needs of young people. Amongst this panel was Nisha Joshi from the Family Welfare Division of Nepal’s Ministry of Health. Ms. Joshi shared the government’s vision to implement a National Health Strategy for 2022-2030 that will prioritize Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights for adolescents. She was joined by Dr Rajendra Bhadra -an eminent CSE & SRHR expert who opined that CSE should be made a mandatory national conversation, Ms. Divya Dawadi of the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) who believes strongly that Nepal needs to address the challenges of social stigma and shame towards CSE, Angel Lama from the Blue Diamond Society who stressed the importance of ensuring content on diversity, inclusivity and intersectionality in the national curriculum and Ms Anu Bista from FPAN who pointed out that advancing SRHR for young people should be the shared responsibility of multiple government and organisational stakeholders working in collaboration. “We need multi-sectoral, inter-departmental involvement and coordination if we are to bridge the gaps in social education”, said Anu. Interactive Participation The day also consisted of multiple interactive breakout sessions on SRHR topics, fun activities and SRHR-themed games, a crowd-sourced art corner, a special advocacy booth that collected participant views and demands for better CSE and booths by the event partners where participants could obtain further information and stimulus material on SRHR. One of the highlights of the programme was a highly impactful flash mob performance by young activists, depicting the reality of growing up as a trans person in South Asian society. “I loved this programme,” gushed Sarozi Niobani, an 18-year old transgender woman who participated at the event. “It was very motivating and gave me a lot of knowledge. There was inclusion, there was education, it was so much fun! Going forward, I believe it’s important for the youth in Nepal to work hand in hand with the government to ensure SRHR for everyone. Someday, I think the youth will make sure that we change society in Nepal.” The programme ended with a youth charter being developed with the collective thoughts of the participants, to form a guide for the ongoing advocacy efforts of FPAN and YUWA. For more information, press only: PR contact name: Dr. Naresh Pratap K.C. Phone number: +977-01-5010201/5010240 Email: [email protected]   For more information on FPAN – https://fpan.org   For more information on YUWA – https://www.yuwa.org.np   For more information on IPPF SARO - https://sar.ippf.org  

Afghanistan
news item

| 20 August 2021

IPPF's statement on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan

On the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, said:   "The International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) is deeply concerned about the situation unfolding in Afghanistan and asks those in power to preserve the enormous gains made in life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare for Afghan women and girls, and to continue working with the partners and NGOs that provide these services.  "Equally, the UK Government retains a significant responsibility to the Afghan people and, in the words of Boris Johnson, must not turn its back on Afghanistan. Once again, IPPF implores the government to urgently reinstate critical overseas aid funding, which it deliberately chose to remove from Afghanistan when it was most needed. "We also ask the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, including IPPF's partners, who, despite the dangers, continue to provide life-saving healthcare to those in need."  

Afghanistan
news_item

| 20 August 2021

IPPF's statement on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan

On the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, said:   "The International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) is deeply concerned about the situation unfolding in Afghanistan and asks those in power to preserve the enormous gains made in life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare for Afghan women and girls, and to continue working with the partners and NGOs that provide these services.  "Equally, the UK Government retains a significant responsibility to the Afghan people and, in the words of Boris Johnson, must not turn its back on Afghanistan. Once again, IPPF implores the government to urgently reinstate critical overseas aid funding, which it deliberately chose to remove from Afghanistan when it was most needed. "We also ask the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, including IPPF's partners, who, despite the dangers, continue to provide life-saving healthcare to those in need."  

saro map
news item

| 19 July 2021

IPPF considers legal action against UK Government's decision to cut IPPF’s funding

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has today revealed it has sent a pre-action letter to the Government following the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) termination of IPPF’s ACCESS project funding, based on the Government’s unlawful decision to cut the foreign aid budget.  The UK's foreign aid spending is enshrined at 0.7% of GNI in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015. The Government’s cuts, which reduce aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) and amount to a staggering £4.5 billion, will have a catastrophic impact on millions of the world's most vulnerable people, especially women and girls who have now been consigned to a bleak and uncertain future.  Having sought legal advice, IPPF believe that the Government's unilateral decision to reduce the percentage of GNI without amending the primary legislation under the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 is unlawful, making any decision of the FCDO based on the cuts unlawful too. Under the proposed aid reduction, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million in funding over the next three years despite an Accountable Grant Agreement (AGA) with the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health service delivery until December 2023. Under the AGA, the FCDO was committed to providing up to £21 million for the U.K. Aid Connect ACCESS Consortium's efforts to enhance the sexual and reproductive health rights of some of the world's most marginalised and underserved people, including those living in extreme poverty, those living in humanitarian crises and those affected by HIV and AIDS. The consortium, led by the IPPF, specifically focused on providing support to groups in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The vote taken on Tuesday in the House of Commons was not capable of legally amending the primary legislation,  a necessary step for making the cuts lawful. Unless the Government reverses its position, IPPF will proceed with filing for a judicial review. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "Since IPPF became aware of the Government's plans to slash the U.K.'s aid budget, it has taken every opportunity to demonstrate the unlawfulness of these cuts and the catastrophic impact they will have on millions of women, girls and marginalized people worldwide, and the thousands of lives that will be lost in the process.  "Sadly, the Government has not heeded our warnings, instead choosing to terminate the ACCESS grant. This means IPPF has been forced to send a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State, seeking an urgent review of the decision. We were further disappointed with yesterday’s motion in the House of Commons to introduce long lasting changes without going through due legislative process. "IPPF has not taken this decision lightly. This action is about fighting the injustice of the Government's ruling on behalf of the women and girls we serve and honouring the intent of IPPF and its member associations." In addition to the decision IPPF is seeking to have reviewed, the Government’s unlawful cuts to the foreign aid budget have had wider effects on IPPF. In total, IPPF could lose up to £72 million in funding over the next three years despite a commitment from the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health care delivery. The loss of funding for IPPF means massive reductions and the potential closure of the U.K.'s flagship WISH (Women's Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This hugely successful initiative delivers life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities. If allowed to continue operating until 2023, it would prevent an additional 7.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 22,000 maternal deaths. Without additional funding, IPPF will be forced to close services in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cote D'Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Mozambique, Nepal and Lebanon and may be forced to close services in an additional nine countries, withdrawing support for sexual and reproductive health services from approximately 4,500 service delivery points globally. Sadly, it will also mean the loss of over 480 IPPF staff supporting SRH service delivery in the FCDO supported countries. IPPF invites the Secretary of State to reinstate the aid budget and confirm the Government's commitment to the 0.7% aid target as a means of keeping its legally binding promises to millions of people worldwide. Notes to Editors: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a UK based charity committed to providing sexual and reproductive support to the world's most under-served communities. The IPPF operates in 142 countries, relies on volunteers and regularly receives financial support for national governments to support their global work.  Under the FCDO's unlawful reduction of UK foreign aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million earmarked for support to vulnerable communities in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The IPPF’s case against the Government is independently financed and no taxpayer money is being used to fund legal costs. END  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

saro map
news_item

| 16 July 2021

IPPF considers legal action against UK Government's decision to cut IPPF’s funding

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has today revealed it has sent a pre-action letter to the Government following the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) termination of IPPF’s ACCESS project funding, based on the Government’s unlawful decision to cut the foreign aid budget.  The UK's foreign aid spending is enshrined at 0.7% of GNI in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015. The Government’s cuts, which reduce aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) and amount to a staggering £4.5 billion, will have a catastrophic impact on millions of the world's most vulnerable people, especially women and girls who have now been consigned to a bleak and uncertain future.  Having sought legal advice, IPPF believe that the Government's unilateral decision to reduce the percentage of GNI without amending the primary legislation under the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 is unlawful, making any decision of the FCDO based on the cuts unlawful too. Under the proposed aid reduction, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million in funding over the next three years despite an Accountable Grant Agreement (AGA) with the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health service delivery until December 2023. Under the AGA, the FCDO was committed to providing up to £21 million for the U.K. Aid Connect ACCESS Consortium's efforts to enhance the sexual and reproductive health rights of some of the world's most marginalised and underserved people, including those living in extreme poverty, those living in humanitarian crises and those affected by HIV and AIDS. The consortium, led by the IPPF, specifically focused on providing support to groups in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The vote taken on Tuesday in the House of Commons was not capable of legally amending the primary legislation,  a necessary step for making the cuts lawful. Unless the Government reverses its position, IPPF will proceed with filing for a judicial review. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "Since IPPF became aware of the Government's plans to slash the U.K.'s aid budget, it has taken every opportunity to demonstrate the unlawfulness of these cuts and the catastrophic impact they will have on millions of women, girls and marginalized people worldwide, and the thousands of lives that will be lost in the process.  "Sadly, the Government has not heeded our warnings, instead choosing to terminate the ACCESS grant. This means IPPF has been forced to send a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State, seeking an urgent review of the decision. We were further disappointed with yesterday’s motion in the House of Commons to introduce long lasting changes without going through due legislative process. "IPPF has not taken this decision lightly. This action is about fighting the injustice of the Government's ruling on behalf of the women and girls we serve and honouring the intent of IPPF and its member associations." In addition to the decision IPPF is seeking to have reviewed, the Government’s unlawful cuts to the foreign aid budget have had wider effects on IPPF. In total, IPPF could lose up to £72 million in funding over the next three years despite a commitment from the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health care delivery. The loss of funding for IPPF means massive reductions and the potential closure of the U.K.'s flagship WISH (Women's Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This hugely successful initiative delivers life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities. If allowed to continue operating until 2023, it would prevent an additional 7.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 22,000 maternal deaths. Without additional funding, IPPF will be forced to close services in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cote D'Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Mozambique, Nepal and Lebanon and may be forced to close services in an additional nine countries, withdrawing support for sexual and reproductive health services from approximately 4,500 service delivery points globally. Sadly, it will also mean the loss of over 480 IPPF staff supporting SRH service delivery in the FCDO supported countries. IPPF invites the Secretary of State to reinstate the aid budget and confirm the Government's commitment to the 0.7% aid target as a means of keeping its legally binding promises to millions of people worldwide. Notes to Editors: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a UK based charity committed to providing sexual and reproductive support to the world's most under-served communities. The IPPF operates in 142 countries, relies on volunteers and regularly receives financial support for national governments to support their global work.  Under the FCDO's unlawful reduction of UK foreign aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million earmarked for support to vulnerable communities in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The IPPF’s case against the Government is independently financed and no taxpayer money is being used to fund legal costs. END  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

free vector
news item

| 15 July 2021

Proposed (draft) Population Policy by the Indian Government anti-choice and anti-rights

Population Control Bill released by the Uttar Pradesh state government this month is neither evidence based nor aligned with principles of reproductive freedom and sexual rights. The bill proposes to offer multiple incentives to families that follow the two-child norm, and additional increments for those who have just one child. However, anyone in violation could be debarred from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs or receiving any government subsidy. It overlooks the country’s commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)+25 in the 2019, which states ‘reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health’. “This is not the first time in India that the government has considered implementation of coercive population control policies. Time and again evidence has shown that such policies are not effective and have adverse outcomes. India’s family planning programes have seen great success and we request the government to not go down this dangerous path and instead continue its investment in increasing access to family planning health services,” said IPPF South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta.   We appeal to the civil society & sexual reproductive and health rights advocates to challenge this undemocratic, discriminatory, anti-rights bill. The draft bill is open for public feedback and recommendations. Suggestions can be submitted via email [email protected] till the 19th of July, 2021. We urge the Government of India to honour its commitments towards an equitable, sexual and reproductive rights based environment for each individual in the country.   END  

free vector
news_item

| 15 July 2021

Proposed (draft) Population Policy by the Indian Government anti-choice and anti-rights

Population Control Bill released by the Uttar Pradesh state government this month is neither evidence based nor aligned with principles of reproductive freedom and sexual rights. The bill proposes to offer multiple incentives to families that follow the two-child norm, and additional increments for those who have just one child. However, anyone in violation could be debarred from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs or receiving any government subsidy. It overlooks the country’s commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)+25 in the 2019, which states ‘reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health’. “This is not the first time in India that the government has considered implementation of coercive population control policies. Time and again evidence has shown that such policies are not effective and have adverse outcomes. India’s family planning programes have seen great success and we request the government to not go down this dangerous path and instead continue its investment in increasing access to family planning health services,” said IPPF South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta.   We appeal to the civil society & sexual reproductive and health rights advocates to challenge this undemocratic, discriminatory, anti-rights bill. The draft bill is open for public feedback and recommendations. Suggestions can be submitted via email [email protected] till the 19th of July, 2021. We urge the Government of India to honour its commitments towards an equitable, sexual and reproductive rights based environment for each individual in the country.   END  

clinic
news item

| 08 June 2021

From Trump to Boris – budget cuts disrupt health services in South Asia

The Government of the United Kingdom’s decision to cut the aid budget comes as a double whammy for countries in South Asia region, where the public health system is under stress due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. The funding cut by the UK government comes just five months after US President Joe Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which was reinstated by former President Donald Trump in 2017.  The global gag rule had pushed organizations like IPPF and its Member Associations to scale down the life-saving abortion services, contraception, maternal health, and HIV prevention and treatment services. The significant loss of funding for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF, a federation of 141 Family Planning Associations across the world) – totalling around £72 million (approximately $100 million USD) – has meant massive reductions to the sexual and reproductive health services to young people and mainly vulnerable women globally. In South Asia, UK funding supported the flagship WISH (Women’s Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This initiative delivered life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for thousands of women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities, including Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The cuts also mean the closure of the ACCESS programe, which provided an evidence-based response to the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of marginalized communities. It was designed to work specifically in complex and challenging environments, including humanitarian settings in Nepal, Lebanon, Mozambique, and Uganda and was only six months into its implementation. ACCESS was designed to work alongside WISH to ensure that no one is left behind. The funding cut will impact the sexual and reproductive rights of around 5.9 million people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23). The discontinuation of funding by the end of this year is estimated to result in: 696,280 unintended pregnancies 1,188 maternal deaths and 76,366 unsafe abortions across Pakistan Syed Kamal Shah, Chief Executive Officer at Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, said: “This funding cut has significantly impacted IPPF and will affect the sexual and reproductive rights of millions of people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23), resulting in hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies, thousands of unsafe abortions and over a thousand maternal deaths – it is a betrayal to women and girls across Pakistan. Most private and public health centres were not operating during the pandemic, but we were able to continue providing sexual and reproductive health services due to the funding support, this cut will make it impossible to respond if we face another wave." Family Planning Association of Nepal, another affected organization estimates that more than 120,000 people from marginalized and vulnerable communities in disaster affected areas would be impacted by the termination of the ACCESS programme. Around 35 full-time staff and 100 part-time staff will also lose their job due to the cuts. Branch Manager at Family Planning Association of Nepal responded when asked about the effects on the ground: “ACCESS was a ray of hope during this difficult situation [the global pandemic]. This comes at a time when most sexual and reproductive health indicators (maternal mortality rates to unmet contraceptive needs) are on the decline, and people are being deprived of health services. Turning our backs during this pandemic, when communities are in dire need of health services, is not only cruel but also against the core values of being a healthcare provider.” Ms Sonal Mehta, IPPF Regional Director at South Asia Regional Office, criticized the move of FCDO (UK government) by highlighting donor accountability: “Our partners in the region had just started recovering after the US government’s decision to repeal the Global Gag rule, but UK cuts have pushed us back to where we started.  If NGOs don’t perform, donors make us accountable, but what do we do if donor countries suddenly change their policies without thinking about the people who depend on their support? We cannot just wait like this, too many lives are at risk.” END For media queries please contact South Asia Regional Communication Manager Himanshi Matta, +91-8860182310; [email protected]  

clinic
news_item

| 07 June 2021

From Trump to Boris – budget cuts disrupt health services in South Asia

The Government of the United Kingdom’s decision to cut the aid budget comes as a double whammy for countries in South Asia region, where the public health system is under stress due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. The funding cut by the UK government comes just five months after US President Joe Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which was reinstated by former President Donald Trump in 2017.  The global gag rule had pushed organizations like IPPF and its Member Associations to scale down the life-saving abortion services, contraception, maternal health, and HIV prevention and treatment services. The significant loss of funding for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF, a federation of 141 Family Planning Associations across the world) – totalling around £72 million (approximately $100 million USD) – has meant massive reductions to the sexual and reproductive health services to young people and mainly vulnerable women globally. In South Asia, UK funding supported the flagship WISH (Women’s Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This initiative delivered life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for thousands of women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities, including Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The cuts also mean the closure of the ACCESS programe, which provided an evidence-based response to the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of marginalized communities. It was designed to work specifically in complex and challenging environments, including humanitarian settings in Nepal, Lebanon, Mozambique, and Uganda and was only six months into its implementation. ACCESS was designed to work alongside WISH to ensure that no one is left behind. The funding cut will impact the sexual and reproductive rights of around 5.9 million people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23). The discontinuation of funding by the end of this year is estimated to result in: 696,280 unintended pregnancies 1,188 maternal deaths and 76,366 unsafe abortions across Pakistan Syed Kamal Shah, Chief Executive Officer at Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, said: “This funding cut has significantly impacted IPPF and will affect the sexual and reproductive rights of millions of people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23), resulting in hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies, thousands of unsafe abortions and over a thousand maternal deaths – it is a betrayal to women and girls across Pakistan. Most private and public health centres were not operating during the pandemic, but we were able to continue providing sexual and reproductive health services due to the funding support, this cut will make it impossible to respond if we face another wave." Family Planning Association of Nepal, another affected organization estimates that more than 120,000 people from marginalized and vulnerable communities in disaster affected areas would be impacted by the termination of the ACCESS programme. Around 35 full-time staff and 100 part-time staff will also lose their job due to the cuts. Branch Manager at Family Planning Association of Nepal responded when asked about the effects on the ground: “ACCESS was a ray of hope during this difficult situation [the global pandemic]. This comes at a time when most sexual and reproductive health indicators (maternal mortality rates to unmet contraceptive needs) are on the decline, and people are being deprived of health services. Turning our backs during this pandemic, when communities are in dire need of health services, is not only cruel but also against the core values of being a healthcare provider.” Ms Sonal Mehta, IPPF Regional Director at South Asia Regional Office, criticized the move of FCDO (UK government) by highlighting donor accountability: “Our partners in the region had just started recovering after the US government’s decision to repeal the Global Gag rule, but UK cuts have pushed us back to where we started.  If NGOs don’t perform, donors make us accountable, but what do we do if donor countries suddenly change their policies without thinking about the people who depend on their support? We cannot just wait like this, too many lives are at risk.” END For media queries please contact South Asia Regional Communication Manager Himanshi Matta, +91-8860182310; [email protected]  

woman wearing a mask in India
news item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

woman wearing a mask in India
news_item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

The gathering at the Youth Conclave
news item

| 17 May 2022

Family Planning Association of Nepal & YUWA Amplify Youth Voices for SRHR

The conference rooms of the Radisson hotel Kathmandu were alive with the energetic chatter of youth participants on Saturday the 23rd of April as the Family Planning Association of Nepal, together with leading NGO youth platform organisation YUWA hosted a full day’s programme under the theme of ‘Advancing Youth SRHR 2022’. The event was produced with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Regional Office. With over 80 young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences in attendance, the event was produced with the aim of building networks amongst youth groups for stronger advocacy of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Nepal. “It is very important to have programs like this where the youth can take the lead” said Surakshya Giri, a long-time youth champion for FPAN and a member of the Board of Trustees at IPPF. “There is a vital need for improving the quality of CSE and evolving teaching methodologies.” “As a young person working towards Comprehensive Sexuality Education for all, we are very glad we created this space where young people of all backgrounds felt safe to voice their CSE needs.” expressed Riju Dhakal; President of YUWA. Expert Panel Sessions The event featured a thought-provoking plenary comprising of a diverse panel of experts, who shared their views on developing Nepal’s systems to meet the SRHR needs of young people. Amongst this panel was Nisha Joshi from the Family Welfare Division of Nepal’s Ministry of Health. Ms. Joshi shared the government’s vision to implement a National Health Strategy for 2022-2030 that will prioritize Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights for adolescents. She was joined by Dr Rajendra Bhadra -an eminent CSE & SRHR expert who opined that CSE should be made a mandatory national conversation, Ms. Divya Dawadi of the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) who believes strongly that Nepal needs to address the challenges of social stigma and shame towards CSE, Angel Lama from the Blue Diamond Society who stressed the importance of ensuring content on diversity, inclusivity and intersectionality in the national curriculum and Ms Anu Bista from FPAN who pointed out that advancing SRHR for young people should be the shared responsibility of multiple government and organisational stakeholders working in collaboration. “We need multi-sectoral, inter-departmental involvement and coordination if we are to bridge the gaps in social education”, said Anu. Interactive Participation The day also consisted of multiple interactive breakout sessions on SRHR topics, fun activities and SRHR-themed games, a crowd-sourced art corner, a special advocacy booth that collected participant views and demands for better CSE and booths by the event partners where participants could obtain further information and stimulus material on SRHR. One of the highlights of the programme was a highly impactful flash mob performance by young activists, depicting the reality of growing up as a trans person in South Asian society. “I loved this programme,” gushed Sarozi Niobani, an 18-year old transgender woman who participated at the event. “It was very motivating and gave me a lot of knowledge. There was inclusion, there was education, it was so much fun! Going forward, I believe it’s important for the youth in Nepal to work hand in hand with the government to ensure SRHR for everyone. Someday, I think the youth will make sure that we change society in Nepal.” The programme ended with a youth charter being developed with the collective thoughts of the participants, to form a guide for the ongoing advocacy efforts of FPAN and YUWA. For more information, press only: PR contact name: Dr. Naresh Pratap K.C. Phone number: +977-01-5010201/5010240 Email: [email protected]   For more information on FPAN – https://fpan.org   For more information on YUWA – https://www.yuwa.org.np   For more information on IPPF SARO - https://sar.ippf.org  

The gathering at the Youth Conclave
news_item

| 28 April 2022

Family Planning Association of Nepal & YUWA Amplify Youth Voices for SRHR

The conference rooms of the Radisson hotel Kathmandu were alive with the energetic chatter of youth participants on Saturday the 23rd of April as the Family Planning Association of Nepal, together with leading NGO youth platform organisation YUWA hosted a full day’s programme under the theme of ‘Advancing Youth SRHR 2022’. The event was produced with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, South Asia Regional Office. With over 80 young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences in attendance, the event was produced with the aim of building networks amongst youth groups for stronger advocacy of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Nepal. “It is very important to have programs like this where the youth can take the lead” said Surakshya Giri, a long-time youth champion for FPAN and a member of the Board of Trustees at IPPF. “There is a vital need for improving the quality of CSE and evolving teaching methodologies.” “As a young person working towards Comprehensive Sexuality Education for all, we are very glad we created this space where young people of all backgrounds felt safe to voice their CSE needs.” expressed Riju Dhakal; President of YUWA. Expert Panel Sessions The event featured a thought-provoking plenary comprising of a diverse panel of experts, who shared their views on developing Nepal’s systems to meet the SRHR needs of young people. Amongst this panel was Nisha Joshi from the Family Welfare Division of Nepal’s Ministry of Health. Ms. Joshi shared the government’s vision to implement a National Health Strategy for 2022-2030 that will prioritize Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights for adolescents. She was joined by Dr Rajendra Bhadra -an eminent CSE & SRHR expert who opined that CSE should be made a mandatory national conversation, Ms. Divya Dawadi of the Center for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD) who believes strongly that Nepal needs to address the challenges of social stigma and shame towards CSE, Angel Lama from the Blue Diamond Society who stressed the importance of ensuring content on diversity, inclusivity and intersectionality in the national curriculum and Ms Anu Bista from FPAN who pointed out that advancing SRHR for young people should be the shared responsibility of multiple government and organisational stakeholders working in collaboration. “We need multi-sectoral, inter-departmental involvement and coordination if we are to bridge the gaps in social education”, said Anu. Interactive Participation The day also consisted of multiple interactive breakout sessions on SRHR topics, fun activities and SRHR-themed games, a crowd-sourced art corner, a special advocacy booth that collected participant views and demands for better CSE and booths by the event partners where participants could obtain further information and stimulus material on SRHR. One of the highlights of the programme was a highly impactful flash mob performance by young activists, depicting the reality of growing up as a trans person in South Asian society. “I loved this programme,” gushed Sarozi Niobani, an 18-year old transgender woman who participated at the event. “It was very motivating and gave me a lot of knowledge. There was inclusion, there was education, it was so much fun! Going forward, I believe it’s important for the youth in Nepal to work hand in hand with the government to ensure SRHR for everyone. Someday, I think the youth will make sure that we change society in Nepal.” The programme ended with a youth charter being developed with the collective thoughts of the participants, to form a guide for the ongoing advocacy efforts of FPAN and YUWA. For more information, press only: PR contact name: Dr. Naresh Pratap K.C. Phone number: +977-01-5010201/5010240 Email: [email protected]   For more information on FPAN – https://fpan.org   For more information on YUWA – https://www.yuwa.org.np   For more information on IPPF SARO - https://sar.ippf.org  

Afghanistan
news item

| 20 August 2021

IPPF's statement on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan

On the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, said:   "The International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) is deeply concerned about the situation unfolding in Afghanistan and asks those in power to preserve the enormous gains made in life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare for Afghan women and girls, and to continue working with the partners and NGOs that provide these services.  "Equally, the UK Government retains a significant responsibility to the Afghan people and, in the words of Boris Johnson, must not turn its back on Afghanistan. Once again, IPPF implores the government to urgently reinstate critical overseas aid funding, which it deliberately chose to remove from Afghanistan when it was most needed. "We also ask the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, including IPPF's partners, who, despite the dangers, continue to provide life-saving healthcare to those in need."  

Afghanistan
news_item

| 20 August 2021

IPPF's statement on the ongoing situation in Afghanistan

On the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo, said:   "The International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) is deeply concerned about the situation unfolding in Afghanistan and asks those in power to preserve the enormous gains made in life-saving sexual and reproductive healthcare for Afghan women and girls, and to continue working with the partners and NGOs that provide these services.  "Equally, the UK Government retains a significant responsibility to the Afghan people and, in the words of Boris Johnson, must not turn its back on Afghanistan. Once again, IPPF implores the government to urgently reinstate critical overseas aid funding, which it deliberately chose to remove from Afghanistan when it was most needed. "We also ask the international community to stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, including IPPF's partners, who, despite the dangers, continue to provide life-saving healthcare to those in need."  

saro map
news item

| 19 July 2021

IPPF considers legal action against UK Government's decision to cut IPPF’s funding

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has today revealed it has sent a pre-action letter to the Government following the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) termination of IPPF’s ACCESS project funding, based on the Government’s unlawful decision to cut the foreign aid budget.  The UK's foreign aid spending is enshrined at 0.7% of GNI in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015. The Government’s cuts, which reduce aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) and amount to a staggering £4.5 billion, will have a catastrophic impact on millions of the world's most vulnerable people, especially women and girls who have now been consigned to a bleak and uncertain future.  Having sought legal advice, IPPF believe that the Government's unilateral decision to reduce the percentage of GNI without amending the primary legislation under the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 is unlawful, making any decision of the FCDO based on the cuts unlawful too. Under the proposed aid reduction, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million in funding over the next three years despite an Accountable Grant Agreement (AGA) with the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health service delivery until December 2023. Under the AGA, the FCDO was committed to providing up to £21 million for the U.K. Aid Connect ACCESS Consortium's efforts to enhance the sexual and reproductive health rights of some of the world's most marginalised and underserved people, including those living in extreme poverty, those living in humanitarian crises and those affected by HIV and AIDS. The consortium, led by the IPPF, specifically focused on providing support to groups in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The vote taken on Tuesday in the House of Commons was not capable of legally amending the primary legislation,  a necessary step for making the cuts lawful. Unless the Government reverses its position, IPPF will proceed with filing for a judicial review. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "Since IPPF became aware of the Government's plans to slash the U.K.'s aid budget, it has taken every opportunity to demonstrate the unlawfulness of these cuts and the catastrophic impact they will have on millions of women, girls and marginalized people worldwide, and the thousands of lives that will be lost in the process.  "Sadly, the Government has not heeded our warnings, instead choosing to terminate the ACCESS grant. This means IPPF has been forced to send a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State, seeking an urgent review of the decision. We were further disappointed with yesterday’s motion in the House of Commons to introduce long lasting changes without going through due legislative process. "IPPF has not taken this decision lightly. This action is about fighting the injustice of the Government's ruling on behalf of the women and girls we serve and honouring the intent of IPPF and its member associations." In addition to the decision IPPF is seeking to have reviewed, the Government’s unlawful cuts to the foreign aid budget have had wider effects on IPPF. In total, IPPF could lose up to £72 million in funding over the next three years despite a commitment from the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health care delivery. The loss of funding for IPPF means massive reductions and the potential closure of the U.K.'s flagship WISH (Women's Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This hugely successful initiative delivers life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities. If allowed to continue operating until 2023, it would prevent an additional 7.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 22,000 maternal deaths. Without additional funding, IPPF will be forced to close services in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cote D'Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Mozambique, Nepal and Lebanon and may be forced to close services in an additional nine countries, withdrawing support for sexual and reproductive health services from approximately 4,500 service delivery points globally. Sadly, it will also mean the loss of over 480 IPPF staff supporting SRH service delivery in the FCDO supported countries. IPPF invites the Secretary of State to reinstate the aid budget and confirm the Government's commitment to the 0.7% aid target as a means of keeping its legally binding promises to millions of people worldwide. Notes to Editors: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a UK based charity committed to providing sexual and reproductive support to the world's most under-served communities. The IPPF operates in 142 countries, relies on volunteers and regularly receives financial support for national governments to support their global work.  Under the FCDO's unlawful reduction of UK foreign aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million earmarked for support to vulnerable communities in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The IPPF’s case against the Government is independently financed and no taxpayer money is being used to fund legal costs. END  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

saro map
news_item

| 16 July 2021

IPPF considers legal action against UK Government's decision to cut IPPF’s funding

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has today revealed it has sent a pre-action letter to the Government following the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) termination of IPPF’s ACCESS project funding, based on the Government’s unlawful decision to cut the foreign aid budget.  The UK's foreign aid spending is enshrined at 0.7% of GNI in the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015. The Government’s cuts, which reduce aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI) and amount to a staggering £4.5 billion, will have a catastrophic impact on millions of the world's most vulnerable people, especially women and girls who have now been consigned to a bleak and uncertain future.  Having sought legal advice, IPPF believe that the Government's unilateral decision to reduce the percentage of GNI without amending the primary legislation under the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 is unlawful, making any decision of the FCDO based on the cuts unlawful too. Under the proposed aid reduction, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million in funding over the next three years despite an Accountable Grant Agreement (AGA) with the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health service delivery until December 2023. Under the AGA, the FCDO was committed to providing up to £21 million for the U.K. Aid Connect ACCESS Consortium's efforts to enhance the sexual and reproductive health rights of some of the world's most marginalised and underserved people, including those living in extreme poverty, those living in humanitarian crises and those affected by HIV and AIDS. The consortium, led by the IPPF, specifically focused on providing support to groups in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The vote taken on Tuesday in the House of Commons was not capable of legally amending the primary legislation,  a necessary step for making the cuts lawful. Unless the Government reverses its position, IPPF will proceed with filing for a judicial review. Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "Since IPPF became aware of the Government's plans to slash the U.K.'s aid budget, it has taken every opportunity to demonstrate the unlawfulness of these cuts and the catastrophic impact they will have on millions of women, girls and marginalized people worldwide, and the thousands of lives that will be lost in the process.  "Sadly, the Government has not heeded our warnings, instead choosing to terminate the ACCESS grant. This means IPPF has been forced to send a pre-action letter to the Secretary of State, seeking an urgent review of the decision. We were further disappointed with yesterday’s motion in the House of Commons to introduce long lasting changes without going through due legislative process. "IPPF has not taken this decision lightly. This action is about fighting the injustice of the Government's ruling on behalf of the women and girls we serve and honouring the intent of IPPF and its member associations." In addition to the decision IPPF is seeking to have reviewed, the Government’s unlawful cuts to the foreign aid budget have had wider effects on IPPF. In total, IPPF could lose up to £72 million in funding over the next three years despite a commitment from the FCDO to support sexual and reproductive health care delivery. The loss of funding for IPPF means massive reductions and the potential closure of the U.K.'s flagship WISH (Women's Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This hugely successful initiative delivers life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities. If allowed to continue operating until 2023, it would prevent an additional 7.5 million unintended pregnancies, 2.7 million unsafe abortions and 22,000 maternal deaths. Without additional funding, IPPF will be forced to close services in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Cote D'Ivoire, Cameroon, Uganda, Mozambique, Nepal and Lebanon and may be forced to close services in an additional nine countries, withdrawing support for sexual and reproductive health services from approximately 4,500 service delivery points globally. Sadly, it will also mean the loss of over 480 IPPF staff supporting SRH service delivery in the FCDO supported countries. IPPF invites the Secretary of State to reinstate the aid budget and confirm the Government's commitment to the 0.7% aid target as a means of keeping its legally binding promises to millions of people worldwide. Notes to Editors: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a UK based charity committed to providing sexual and reproductive support to the world's most under-served communities. The IPPF operates in 142 countries, relies on volunteers and regularly receives financial support for national governments to support their global work.  Under the FCDO's unlawful reduction of UK foreign aid contributions to 0.5% of Gross National Income, the IPPF is expected to lose £14.2 million earmarked for support to vulnerable communities in Lebanon, Mozambique, Nepal and Uganda. The IPPF’s case against the Government is independently financed and no taxpayer money is being used to fund legal costs. END  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

free vector
news item

| 15 July 2021

Proposed (draft) Population Policy by the Indian Government anti-choice and anti-rights

Population Control Bill released by the Uttar Pradesh state government this month is neither evidence based nor aligned with principles of reproductive freedom and sexual rights. The bill proposes to offer multiple incentives to families that follow the two-child norm, and additional increments for those who have just one child. However, anyone in violation could be debarred from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs or receiving any government subsidy. It overlooks the country’s commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)+25 in the 2019, which states ‘reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health’. “This is not the first time in India that the government has considered implementation of coercive population control policies. Time and again evidence has shown that such policies are not effective and have adverse outcomes. India’s family planning programes have seen great success and we request the government to not go down this dangerous path and instead continue its investment in increasing access to family planning health services,” said IPPF South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta.   We appeal to the civil society & sexual reproductive and health rights advocates to challenge this undemocratic, discriminatory, anti-rights bill. The draft bill is open for public feedback and recommendations. Suggestions can be submitted via email [email protected] till the 19th of July, 2021. We urge the Government of India to honour its commitments towards an equitable, sexual and reproductive rights based environment for each individual in the country.   END  

free vector
news_item

| 15 July 2021

Proposed (draft) Population Policy by the Indian Government anti-choice and anti-rights

Population Control Bill released by the Uttar Pradesh state government this month is neither evidence based nor aligned with principles of reproductive freedom and sexual rights. The bill proposes to offer multiple incentives to families that follow the two-child norm, and additional increments for those who have just one child. However, anyone in violation could be debarred from contesting local body elections, applying for government jobs or receiving any government subsidy. It overlooks the country’s commitments made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)+25 in the 2019, which states ‘reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health’. “This is not the first time in India that the government has considered implementation of coercive population control policies. Time and again evidence has shown that such policies are not effective and have adverse outcomes. India’s family planning programes have seen great success and we request the government to not go down this dangerous path and instead continue its investment in increasing access to family planning health services,” said IPPF South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta.   We appeal to the civil society & sexual reproductive and health rights advocates to challenge this undemocratic, discriminatory, anti-rights bill. The draft bill is open for public feedback and recommendations. Suggestions can be submitted via email [email protected] till the 19th of July, 2021. We urge the Government of India to honour its commitments towards an equitable, sexual and reproductive rights based environment for each individual in the country.   END  

clinic
news item

| 08 June 2021

From Trump to Boris – budget cuts disrupt health services in South Asia

The Government of the United Kingdom’s decision to cut the aid budget comes as a double whammy for countries in South Asia region, where the public health system is under stress due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. The funding cut by the UK government comes just five months after US President Joe Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which was reinstated by former President Donald Trump in 2017.  The global gag rule had pushed organizations like IPPF and its Member Associations to scale down the life-saving abortion services, contraception, maternal health, and HIV prevention and treatment services. The significant loss of funding for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF, a federation of 141 Family Planning Associations across the world) – totalling around £72 million (approximately $100 million USD) – has meant massive reductions to the sexual and reproductive health services to young people and mainly vulnerable women globally. In South Asia, UK funding supported the flagship WISH (Women’s Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This initiative delivered life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for thousands of women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities, including Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The cuts also mean the closure of the ACCESS programe, which provided an evidence-based response to the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of marginalized communities. It was designed to work specifically in complex and challenging environments, including humanitarian settings in Nepal, Lebanon, Mozambique, and Uganda and was only six months into its implementation. ACCESS was designed to work alongside WISH to ensure that no one is left behind. The funding cut will impact the sexual and reproductive rights of around 5.9 million people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23). The discontinuation of funding by the end of this year is estimated to result in: 696,280 unintended pregnancies 1,188 maternal deaths and 76,366 unsafe abortions across Pakistan Syed Kamal Shah, Chief Executive Officer at Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, said: “This funding cut has significantly impacted IPPF and will affect the sexual and reproductive rights of millions of people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23), resulting in hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies, thousands of unsafe abortions and over a thousand maternal deaths – it is a betrayal to women and girls across Pakistan. Most private and public health centres were not operating during the pandemic, but we were able to continue providing sexual and reproductive health services due to the funding support, this cut will make it impossible to respond if we face another wave." Family Planning Association of Nepal, another affected organization estimates that more than 120,000 people from marginalized and vulnerable communities in disaster affected areas would be impacted by the termination of the ACCESS programme. Around 35 full-time staff and 100 part-time staff will also lose their job due to the cuts. Branch Manager at Family Planning Association of Nepal responded when asked about the effects on the ground: “ACCESS was a ray of hope during this difficult situation [the global pandemic]. This comes at a time when most sexual and reproductive health indicators (maternal mortality rates to unmet contraceptive needs) are on the decline, and people are being deprived of health services. Turning our backs during this pandemic, when communities are in dire need of health services, is not only cruel but also against the core values of being a healthcare provider.” Ms Sonal Mehta, IPPF Regional Director at South Asia Regional Office, criticized the move of FCDO (UK government) by highlighting donor accountability: “Our partners in the region had just started recovering after the US government’s decision to repeal the Global Gag rule, but UK cuts have pushed us back to where we started.  If NGOs don’t perform, donors make us accountable, but what do we do if donor countries suddenly change their policies without thinking about the people who depend on their support? We cannot just wait like this, too many lives are at risk.” END For media queries please contact South Asia Regional Communication Manager Himanshi Matta, +91-8860182310; [email protected]  

clinic
news_item

| 07 June 2021

From Trump to Boris – budget cuts disrupt health services in South Asia

The Government of the United Kingdom’s decision to cut the aid budget comes as a double whammy for countries in South Asia region, where the public health system is under stress due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. The funding cut by the UK government comes just five months after US President Joe Biden repealed the Global Gag Rule, which was reinstated by former President Donald Trump in 2017.  The global gag rule had pushed organizations like IPPF and its Member Associations to scale down the life-saving abortion services, contraception, maternal health, and HIV prevention and treatment services. The significant loss of funding for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF, a federation of 141 Family Planning Associations across the world) – totalling around £72 million (approximately $100 million USD) – has meant massive reductions to the sexual and reproductive health services to young people and mainly vulnerable women globally. In South Asia, UK funding supported the flagship WISH (Women’s Integrated Sexual Health) programme. This initiative delivered life-saving contraception and sexual and reproductive health services for thousands of women and girls in some of the world's poorest and most marginalized communities, including Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. The cuts also mean the closure of the ACCESS programe, which provided an evidence-based response to the specific sexual and reproductive health needs of marginalized communities. It was designed to work specifically in complex and challenging environments, including humanitarian settings in Nepal, Lebanon, Mozambique, and Uganda and was only six months into its implementation. ACCESS was designed to work alongside WISH to ensure that no one is left behind. The funding cut will impact the sexual and reproductive rights of around 5.9 million people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23). The discontinuation of funding by the end of this year is estimated to result in: 696,280 unintended pregnancies 1,188 maternal deaths and 76,366 unsafe abortions across Pakistan Syed Kamal Shah, Chief Executive Officer at Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, said: “This funding cut has significantly impacted IPPF and will affect the sexual and reproductive rights of millions of people in Pakistan in the next two years (2022-23), resulting in hundreds of thousands of unintended pregnancies, thousands of unsafe abortions and over a thousand maternal deaths – it is a betrayal to women and girls across Pakistan. Most private and public health centres were not operating during the pandemic, but we were able to continue providing sexual and reproductive health services due to the funding support, this cut will make it impossible to respond if we face another wave." Family Planning Association of Nepal, another affected organization estimates that more than 120,000 people from marginalized and vulnerable communities in disaster affected areas would be impacted by the termination of the ACCESS programme. Around 35 full-time staff and 100 part-time staff will also lose their job due to the cuts. Branch Manager at Family Planning Association of Nepal responded when asked about the effects on the ground: “ACCESS was a ray of hope during this difficult situation [the global pandemic]. This comes at a time when most sexual and reproductive health indicators (maternal mortality rates to unmet contraceptive needs) are on the decline, and people are being deprived of health services. Turning our backs during this pandemic, when communities are in dire need of health services, is not only cruel but also against the core values of being a healthcare provider.” Ms Sonal Mehta, IPPF Regional Director at South Asia Regional Office, criticized the move of FCDO (UK government) by highlighting donor accountability: “Our partners in the region had just started recovering after the US government’s decision to repeal the Global Gag rule, but UK cuts have pushed us back to where we started.  If NGOs don’t perform, donors make us accountable, but what do we do if donor countries suddenly change their policies without thinking about the people who depend on their support? We cannot just wait like this, too many lives are at risk.” END For media queries please contact South Asia Regional Communication Manager Himanshi Matta, +91-8860182310; [email protected]  

woman wearing a mask in India
news item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

woman wearing a mask in India
news_item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19.