West Africa Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) Program
Pathfinder is laying the groundwork to address the great need for contraception and sexual and reproductive health services in francophone West Africa, a region that has some of the lowest contraceptive prevalence rates and highest maternal mortality in Africa. With funding from the Pathfinding Fund and the Hewlett Foundation, Pathfinder is implementing a scalable, evidence-based model focusing on promotion of sexual and reproductive health among young married women and their partners in Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger. Pathfinder recently established a regional office in Conakry, Guinea, with two full-time staff dedicated to the project.
Pathfinder works with the Ministries of Health in both Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger to support their efforts to develop strategies for adolescent reproductive health. Subawards are being prepared for local partner organizations to implement community-level activities in both countries. In late summer 2013, the team expects to hold a regional technical meeting in which international and local organizations will discuss best practices in adolescent health to explore ideas that may enhance country-level work planning and implementation around reproductive health strategies for youth.
This USAID-funded project was a Pathfinder-led initiative to reduce and eliminate the practice of female genital cutting in Guinea.
Dr. Tauseef Ahmed, Pakistan country director of Pathfinder International, a non-profit organisation working to improve adolescent and youth access to sexual and reproductive health services in more than 30 countries, says that early pregnancy is not uncommon among teenage brides. In fact, having a baby is a way of proving one’s fertility, and the values of adolescent pregnancy are “protected by women and girls themselves,” he told IPS.
At this week's International Conference on Family Planning, the global health community celebrates progress toward the FP2020 commitments made at the London Summit on Family Planning and the announcement of five new national family planning commitments.