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UNFPA and Fiocruz promote workshop to implement actions


Julia Dias


Representatives of Fiocruz, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and ministries and institutes of Health of African countries gathered at the Foundation, between October 9th and 11th, to define the priorities of themes and strategies for the next five years of the partnership. The institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in July and this was the second planning workshop to implement the actions.

“I would like to reinforce my institutional commitment to this UNFPA agenda, which is to think about rights from the perspective of the populations. In the specific case of this workshop, the rights of women, for which we have a dedicated institute”, said the president of Fiocruz, Nísia Trindade Lima, in reference to the National Institute of Women, Children and Adolescent Health Fernandes Figueira (IFF/ Fiocruz), at the opening of the meeting. In addition to the IFF, were also represented at the meeting the Vice-Presidency of Education, Information and Communication (VPEIC) and Fiocruz Global Health Center (Cris/Fiocruz), which are responsible for conducting the initiative, the Sergio Arouca National School of Public Health (ENSP/Fiocruz) and the Virtual Campus.

Zero maternal deaths

In the first workshop, held in August, it had already been defined as a priority of the partnership to reduce preventable maternal deaths to zero up to 2030 in the participating countries. To do this, the strategy intends to create a Reference Center for Maternal Health of the ICPD*. The purpose of the Center is to analyze and increase the capacity of countries through the exchange of experiences provided by triangular cooperation between Fiocruz, Latin American, Caribbean and Africans countries, and the UNFPA.

“No woman should die simply for giving birth”, summarizes the senior advisor for cooperation between UNFPA countries, Bobby Olarte, upon explaining the goal of the partnership. He explains that the center seeks to benefit from the expertise of Fiocruz in the area, through the experience of IFF, to support the countries. UNFPA’s proposal includes identifying Centers of Excellence in the world and provide technical support for the creation of networks.

The choice for the challenge of reducing maternal mortality comes both from the need of the countries and the observation of the competencies of Fiocruz. In addition, this result is in line with the strategy of the three zeros to accelerate the implementation of the ICPD* action program: zero unfulfilled needs for contraception, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero situations of violence against women and girls. 

Particular contexts

At the meeting, representatives from Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cabo Verde and Senegal presented their national contexts and their challenges for reducing maternal deaths. These countries have very different contexts. While Cabo Verde, for example, is a reference in the area of women’s health, Guinea-Bissau presents health infrastructure challenges and a very high maternal mortality, with 746 deaths per 100,000 women. 

UNFPA’s Brazilian office representative, Junia Quiroga, presented the data and challenges of Latin America and the Caribbean. The high number of cesarean sections, teenage pregnancy and the high medicalization of maternal health care are among the main challenges of the region.

“We have a very young average age for the first intercourse throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and we are the second region of the world with the highest adolescent fecundity rate”, Junia presented upon reinforcing the need to focus on young populations. To address these issues, the partnership identified the training of personnel, the construction and strengthening of information, surveillance and monitoring systems, the research, and the promotion of community participation as areas of cooperation.

Despite the challenges, for the representative of the UNFPA, the partnership has proved very promising, with the commitment of specialists and institutions involved. “Speed, agility and engagement have been important features of this cooperation”, she said.

Internacional Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)

The United Nations International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994, resulted in the elaboration of an agenda pointing a common commitment to achieve sustainable development with equity for all by promoting human rights and dignity, support for family planning, sexual and reproductive health and rights, promotion of gender equality, promotion of equal access to education for girls and elimination of violence against women, among other things.

As a milestone of the 25th anniversary of this agenda, a summit will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 12 to 14 November. The president of Fiocruz will take part at the event and will show the results and commitments of the two workshops already undertaken by the partnership between UNFPA and Fiocruz.

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