160493 Provocative advocacy messages spur parliament to pass new reproductive health law in Togo

Monday, November 5, 2007: 3:00 PM

Badara Seye, MS , AWARE-RH Project, Academy for Educational Development, Accra, Ghana
Carmen Coles, MPP , AWARE-RH Project, Academy for Educational Development, Accra, Ghana
Renuka Bery, MPH , Global Health Population and Nutrition, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Koffi Akpadza, Professor , Faculty of Medicine, University of Lome, Lome, Togo
Gnamine Agarem , Population and Development Assembly, Parliamentarian Network of Togo, Lome, Togo
With technical assistance from AWARE-RH, lawmakers in Togo developed a modern reproductive health law tailored to the specific needs of the country, yet it remained a low priority in Parliament. In October 2006, these local stakeholders presented targeted advocacy messages that stunned lawmakers. Within two months Parliament passed the new reproductive health law, laws supporting women's rights and people living with HIV/AIDS, and measures against child trafficking. Since 2004, USAID's AWARE-RH project working with UNFPA began efforts to change the 1920 Reproductive Health law that denies women adequate family planning and reproductive health products and services. The project first hosted five regional and two national workshops for Togolese lawmakers. To bolster momentum for policy reform, AWARE-RH and WHO organized a maternal and newborn health advocacy workshop for a team of Togo's leading doctors, journalists, economists, and members of government. Using a tool called REDUCE, Togolese officials developed a provocative presentation summarizing the poor state of maternal and newborn health and its devastating impacts on the economy. Lawmakers were shocked to learn that each day three Togolese woman die from pregnancy complications, while 75 more suffer long-term physical disabilities such as incontinence or anemia. The presentation included a road map for policy reform and a call for action. This presentation will highlight the model used to develop a modern updated reproductive health law and will focus on the advocacy strategies stakeholders used to motivate the government into taking policy action that will profoundly improve women's and children's lives.

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze the advocacy strategies that were successful in getting policy makers to adopt the new RH law. 2. Describe the elements of the 1920 RH law 3. Discuss the model for changing the RH law in Togo

Keywords: Advocacy, Health Law

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.