A new collaboration with Japanese private companies and International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Member Association, Planned Parenthood Association Ghana (PPAG) was announced last week on a three day tour of Ghana by Dr Toshiko Abe, the Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs. The tour included a visit to reproductive health project and meetings with experts working on maternal and child health.
The new partnership with PPAG, Panasonic and Saraya will see the pilot bring solar lanterns to services delivering maternal health and women’s rights through the Japan Trust Fund for HIV and Reproductive Health. It will focus on the Northern region with the anticipation of expanding across Ghana and other countries in Africa.
Dr Toshiko Abe, visited Ghana to see the country’s efforts on child mortality reduction and maternal health. As part of a showcase of Japanese support, the Vice Minister visited the Kotoso Reproductive Health Centre, part of a flagship project implemented by IPPF’s Member Association PPAG and Japanese NGO, Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) in collaboration with Ghana Health Service with financial support from the Government of Japan.
The Vice Minister met with clients, dedicated project staff and the local chief at the centre in Kotoso, Volta River Area of Eastern Region, to see how the project is helping the local community who travel across the river to seek health services. On her visit to the local market and river crossing nearby, Dr Toshiko Abe, the Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs said:
“The Japanese government prioritizes global health, especially maternal and child health and family planning, which is directly linked to human security and is very important. InGhanaI want to encourage further collaboration with NGOs and Japanese private sector. For health system strengthening I see importance in education to increase the number and training of health workers. It will raise the quality of services, strategy and policy to support health workers in remote areas. Community based activities are vital to increase people’s access to health services.”
She met with PPAG staff and IPPF Africa Region, founding member, Professor Fred Sai to discuss the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) progress made so far. Reporting on Ghana, Dr Fred Sai said: ‘We are doing reasonably well in gender empowerment but not so well in the reduction of maternal mortality rate, particularly in family planning.
I believeJapan’s further collaboration will accelerate decreasing maternal mortality rate, increasing contraceptive use and improving children’s health.’
IPPF welcomes the long-term co-operation on reproductive health and family planning fromJapanafter the signing on a Memorandum of Understanding with IPPF in May and discussions at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) in June.
At the meeting between Vice Minister and representatives of maternal and newborn child health organizations at the Embassy of Japan, Lucien Kouakou, IPPF Africa Regional Director said: “‘There is no excuse to leave women to die in childbirth and pregnancy. As a long lasting strategic partner, IPPF is strongly committed to put TICAD V Yokohama plan of action, in which reproductive health was positioned as one of priority areas to realize human security and development in Africa, into practice.
“In Ghana our Member Association PPAG is a good model and learning centre, demonstrating efforts in rural areas like the flagship Kotoso reproductive health project. We are especially grateful for the support provided by the GoJ, JOICEF and the government ofGhanaworking with PPAG to define and strengthen the civil society, bilateral, and intergovernment coordination mechanism.”
In response to the announcement of the pilot project and of the Vice Minister’s visit, he said: “We are excited about the new collaboration with Panasonic and Saraya to implement the solar lanterns pilot through the existing Japan Trust Fund Project for the Northern Region. It will widen people’s choice and enhance quality of lives of people, particularly women and girls, where majority of community do not have electricity.’
IPPF has a longstanding partnership with the Japanese Government over many years through bilateral and multilateral cooperation including a core grant and the IPPF Japan Trust Fund.