1) Project Title: Advocacy for Comprehensive Abortion Care (ACAC)
The Government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Public Health has worked over the years to reduce maternal mortality in the country. Their efforts have been yielding fruits especially with the recent statistics which shows that maternal mortality has reduced from 782 deaths per 100.000 live births to 406 deaths per 100.000 live births (DHS V, 2012 – 2018). Although this 40 percent drop is laudable, the statistics still leaves much to be desired when compared to developed and other developing countries. For Cameroon to achieve the third sustainable development goal of less than 70 maternal deaths for 100.000 live births, there is an urgent need to establish a comprehensive approach in ending preventable maternal deaths. Recent research (Tiako Kamga et al., 2017: 4) reveals that complications of unsafe abortion accounts for 24.2% of maternal deaths in Cameroon. This shows that the magnitude of induced abortions is far from marginal and has a crippling effect on the maternal mortality rate in Cameroon. Though the penal code allows abortion when a woman is raped or if the pregnancy endangers her life, such women still cannot have timely access to the service. The cumbersome procedures which the women have to undergo before they can be considered qualified for the service is a real bottleneck. The situation is further aggravated by the stigma attached to abortion, the non-implementation of article 14 section 2 of the ratified Maputo protocol and the absence of a monitoring system for maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortions. All these barriers cause unsafe abortion to continue to prevail in secrecy and at least two of our women and girls die every day.
How many more women must die from unsafe abortion complications for society to talk this seriously? Maternal deaths from unsafe abortions are preventable and for this to happen we need a change in our perception of comprehensive abortion care and the stigma that goes with it.
3) Objective of the ACAC Project
The objective of the project is to advocate for an enabling environment for increased access to safe abortion services within the context of the Cameroon law so as to reduce maternal deaths related to unsafe abortion.
4) Project details
Target audience: Reproductive Health policy makers (MINSANTE, MINPROFF and other related ministerial departments), Law makers, SOGOC and healthcare providers like minded organisations, CBOs and the public
Specific Project Goals: – Strengthen management and organizational capacity of SOGOC (Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Cameroon)
– Establish and strengthen a coordinated network for increased advocacy
– Contribute to greater acceptance of comprehensive abortion care services within the Cameroonian law.
– Communicate and sensitize about legal framework and guidelines for comprehensive abortion care
– Ensure a process for generation and use of evidence for action is in place
Project Timing: 2019-2022
5) Additional Information
Other Countries involved in the project are: Benin, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, Uganda and Zambia. The project is a sub grant from the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, (FIGO).