Despite progress made in sub-Saharan Africa, the status of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) is still poor. The reasons for this are manifold—they include financial obstacles to health services, limited access to contraceptives and other sexual and reproductive health commodities (SRHC), poor availability of professionally trained health personnel, gender inequality and conflicting socio-cultural practices and beliefs.

As part of our work on SRH, we contribute to capacity strengthening by equipping civil society actors and health stewards with needed knowledge, technical skills and tools to develop and implement evidence-based advocacy strategies. Our work in this field draws upon our research and advocacy expertise.

In 2021, a project in Kisumu County (Kenya), funded by The Waterloo Foundation, looked at local government plans and budgets for the sexual SRH needs of residents. A key recommendation from the project was itemisation and transparency in budgeting for ease of monitoring and tracking.  Meanwhile, the sensitisation of sub-county reproductive health coordinators and pharmacists at technical working group meetings provided an opportunity for us to present the findings of our various studies on availability and affordability of SRH commodities. This resulted in them developing actions plans for a costed implementation plan (CIP) at sub-county level, which also incorporated some of our recommendations. A direct result was a data cleaning exercise that saw the county find family planning commodities that had been thought to be stocked out, and which were then re-distributed. Our advocacy for improved SHR budgeting will continue throughout 2022.

For more information on HAI’s research and work to improve access to SRHC in sub-Saharan Africa, please contact Gaby Ooms (Research Manager).