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Advocating for Improved MNH & SRH Policy & Practice for Adolescent Girls & Young Mothers (AIMS)

Adolescent Girls and Young Mothers (AGYM) in Pakistan are at a higher risk of illness and death from reproductive health issues including early pregnancy, unsafe abortion, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As a marginalized segment of the community, they are voiceless in the patriarchal, feudal and tribal rural areas of Pakistan. Adolescent girls and young mothers are neither a priority for their own communities nor for the government and as a consequence, their sexual and reproductive rights and needs are not articulated in health policies and strategic frameworks.

‘Advocating for Improved Maternal Newborn Health (MNH) and sexual reproductive health (SRH) policy and practice for adolescent girls and young mothers,’ was an initiative which combined evidence based research with targeted advocacy to successfully bring about changes in Pakistan’s policies regarding MHN and SRH for adolescent girls and young mothers. It engaged duty bearers at different levels of governance to enhance political will, commitment to policy formulation, and adequate resource allocation to provide visibility and inclusion to the specific MNH and SRH needs of AGYM in public health policies.

Objectives

  • Undertake a comprehensive research to explore the barriers for poor and socially excluded Adolescent Girls and Young Mothers (AGYM) in accessing MNH and SRH services and information.
  • Advocate for inclusion of focused needs & service delivery for Adolescent Girls and Young Mothers in provincial health plans/ programs in all four provinces
  • Advocate for improved capacities of community-based health providers through modifications in training curricula (Community Midwives, Lady Health Workers), in responding to the MNH and SRH needs of the marginalized and poor AGYM.

Outcomes

  • Increased understanding of barriers and underlying factors impeding the access of poor and marginalized adolescent girls and young mothers to MNH and SRH services and the information and services they need.
  • AIMS evidence based research results were disseminated through provincial seminar.
  • Developed following key documents: Secondary Data Review (2001-2012) – SRH/ MNH of AGYM, Public Policy Review – SRH/ MNH Policies for AGYM, Stakeholder analysis in SRH/MNH policy intervention in Pakistan, Field Research – SRH/MNH Needs of AGYM, Services and barriers to access of services, Adolescent SRH/MNH Policy Briefing Paper
  • Formation of National Parliamentary Caucus comprising of 25 parliamentarians from different provinces and various political parties. The parliamentarians pledged to bridge gaps on policies around sexual and reproductive health needs of AGYM.
  • Formation of working groups of line departments in all target districts, namely: Badin, Quetta, Mardan and Muzaffargarh.
  • High priority accorded to MNH and SRH needs of poor and marginalized adolescent girls and young mothers in policymakers’ agendas at provincial level.
  • Provincial chapters of ‘ SRH Media Network’ in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan.
  • Drafting of SRH-MNH resolution to include AGYM as target group for community health workers, which was successfully tabled in three out of four of the provinces (Punjab, Baluchistan and KPK) and was unanimously passed by the KPK assembly in January 2013.
  • CARE and Rahnuma-FPAP also engaged with new parliamentarians in three provinces (Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan) to table the MNH-SRH resolution. Relevant government departments were pursued to include AGYM in provincial strategic intervention.

Time frame: February 2011 - August 2014

Location: Islamabad, Punjab: Lahore and Muzaffargarh, Sindh: Karachi, Badin, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa:Peshawar, Mardan Baluchistan: Quetta

Donor: Research and Advocacy Fund – RAF (DFID-UK and AUSAID-Australia)

Budget:  65,486,373 PKR

Cost: 60,975,050 (PKR)

Implementing Partner: Rahnuma FPAP

Beneficiaries: 8,000