By Fatou Dahaba
The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, in collaboration with the office of the Vice President of the Gambia, has officially launched the Gambia Investment Case on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Officials say the launching is crucial to promoting health and well-being for women and girls in the Gambia.
The first-ever investment case report document addresses preventive maternal death and eliminates all forms of gender-based violence, including child marriage and FGM.
The findings and recommendations of the investment case regarding maternal mortality reveal maternal mortality remains high in the Gambia but has sharply decreased from 433 per 100,000 births in 2023 to 289 per 100,000 life births in 2019.
To prevent maternal mortality, the reports recommend increasing funding for maternal health program training and equipment of health care personnel and Strengthening the health system to ensure quality care for expected mothers.
The report says a purpose investment of $38 million could reduce maternal mortality from 289 per 100 thousand to 141 per 100 thousand life births by 2030.
Similarly, the report highlights the funding gap in Access to family planning services, gender-based violence, and harmful practices with an estimated amount that they believe will bridge the gaps and improve service delivery.
The Gambia investment document is a testimony of robust cooperation. It symbolizes collective determination to address critical issues surrounding sexual and reproductive health. It also recognizes that these matters are not just medical but deeply intertwine social, economic, and human rights considerations.
UNFPA Gambia country representative Ms. Ndeye Rose Sarr said the launch of the investment case is a significant step towards realizing several transformative objectives.
She added that the investment case for sexual reproductive health is a bold and envisaging roadmap fully supported by the government, which is a plan and a commitment to act.
“The report emphasizes the need for sustainable financing to support maternal health, family planning, and efforts to combat gender-based violence and highlights the importance of strategic partnership.
Achieving our goal in 2030 requires us to work closely as development partners, share our expertise, and pull out resources to make the vision a reality,” she said.
The Minister of Public Service, Hon. Babucarr Boye, reassured the government’s commitment to improving sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, preventing maternal deaths, and eliminating gender-based violence.
“The investment holds the potential of significant drops and not just saving rights but also fostering socio-economic advantages from enhanced education to a more substantive and productive labor force with unwavering support. We remain committed and determined to champion sexual and reproductive health in the Gambia.”
He further states the government remains steadfast in implementing and monitoring the investment case.
The UN Resident Coordinator Seraphine Wakana said the investment case will help them to develop a national road map for financing maternal health, family planning, and gender equality. It will also create a fundamental understanding of their fiscal space, ensuring their investment is sustainable.
She maintains that achieving the transformative result by 2030, the priority areas for the Gambia requires financial and technical resources; ‘this necessitates conservative efforts to mobilize domestic resources and prioritize the critical areas.’
“The Gambia, like many countries, faces unique challenges in achieving this transformative result; accelerating progress will only be possible by closing the resource gaps and increasing political commitment at all levels. Today, we launch the investment case as a robust advocacy and resource mobilization to catalyze positive change.”
Alieu Loum, Representative of the Secretary-General, said the investment offers the promise of saving lives and the potential to usher in socio-economic benefits that wave throughout the society. ‘Dividends are substantial from an enhanced educational landscape to nurturing a more productive and substantive workforce.’
“The Secretary General’s office is dedicated to collaborating closely with UNFPA to enhance the M&E system, leveraging it as a tool for enhanced governance, efficient development planning, informed policy decisions, and heightened public accountability,” He told the gathering.