South Sudan hosts first national consultation on EAC sexual reproductive health bill

By Staff Writer

South Sudan has played host to the first ever national consultative meeting with stakeholders on the East African Community (EAC) Sexual Reproductive Health Bill 2021.

The consultative meeting which is also being undertaken across the East African member states is meant to create awareness of the EAC Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) Bill among different stakeholders at the national and regional levels.

“This Bill was private members Bill that has a long very history,” AYASON Mukulia Kennedy, South Sudan Member of Parliament in the East African Legislative Assembly, said on Friday during the beginning of the meeting.

“It was first moved in the year 2017; it came to our term in Office and therefore, we inherited it and we are moving forward to have public opinions on what people think about the Sexual Reproductive rights,” he added.

The event was conducted by the regional steering committee chaired by Eastern Africa National Networks of AIDS and Health Service Organizations (EANNASO), co-chaired by Faith to Action Network in collaboration with Christian Agency for Peace and Development (CAPaD) in South Sudan among support organizations.

At least some members from the national legislative assembly in Juba, faith-based leaders and civic society organizations are participating in the gathering among other relevant governmental institutions particularly the Ministry of Health as well as General Education and instructions Ministry.

Rev. Janet Michael, the Director General of Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health said the Bill was a priority in the health sector considering global trend on reproductive health.

“The Ministry of Health want to advise the public not to put the culture as an obstacle to the passing of this Bill. We have to consider the global trend. We need to have this bill discussed and passed into law without denial,” she explained in an opening remark.   

M.P Mawien K. Dhor Ariik, the focal point for Reproductive Health, Food and Security in the National Assembly said the parliament was in support of the Bill so that people are aware on the reproductive health issues.

Andrea Aguer Ariik, the Undersecretary in the Ministry of the East African Affairs in South Sudan said ““This will facilitate and promote the prevention of new born child mortality and maternal rate, it also moves to promote the prohibit and facilitate the elimination of the harmful traditional practices in the community,”

The Bill also explores possibilities of creating consensus so that stakeholders are aware of the issues regarding sexual reproductive health rights in the community, health reproductive health rights in adults, youth or young people including the order people.

It further looks at comprehensive sexuality education to everyone and making sure that civil population continues to have conversation on the matter.

Once the final consultations or stakeholders’ consultation are finalized in January, then the committee will go forward to discuss issues raised by the citizens, according to East East Legislative Assembly (EALA.

The Bill is then expected to be passed between June and December 2022.

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