2017-22: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Morocco

The project has a dual main objective:

  • To improve access to and utilization of sexual and reproductive health service especially among women and young people in rural areas.
  • In the longer term to increase the proportion of the national budget for sexual and reproductive health and rights and the commitment to improvements among officials at national and local level.

Facts about the Project

Partners: Association Marocaine de Planification Familiale (AMPF) – ‘The Moroccan Family Planning Association’ and the Danish Family Planning Association (Sex og Samfund)

Country and location: Two rural regions around the provincial towns of Tata and Azilal, Morocco

Thematic area: Sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The access to sexual and reproductive health services has been greatly improved for women in Morocco’s urban areas, resulting in a significant decrease in maternal and child mortality. However there’s a lack of resources allocated to sexual and reproductive health and most national efforts have been concentrated on urban areas and many rural areas has a high maternal mortality in comparison.

The project will focus on two of the most vulnerable regions in Morocco where access to sexual and reproductive health services is especially poor. Problems include lack of trained health staff, lack of transportation, lack of access to family planning resources, and high prevalence of untreated uterine infections. Moreover, abortion is one of the main issues in rural areas. Abortion is illegal under most circumstances and rural communities use traditional and unsafe methods of abortion.

 

Project activities

The project is working on two lines of activities – documentation for use in advocacy and capacity building:

Documentation: There’s a lack of information and data regarding the cost of investing in sexual and reproductive health and the benefits to society. International studies show that by investing 1 US $ in family planning, the community could save 6 US $. Morocco lack such studies based on local and national conditions. This lack of evidence makes advocacy and negotiation difficult.

To better equip AMPF and other advocacy organisations with compelling arguments the project has contracted a report on the costs of family planning services in public clinics to be completed in 2018. One of the first tasks has been to secure the active involvement and support of the Ministry of Health, which has approved the terms of references of the report and its methodology. This will ensure that the study is validated by the ministry, which is expected to give more credibility and power to the advocacy activities based on the study results.

Further studies on benefits and other aspects of sexual and reproductive health services are planned for later stages.

Capacity building:  There is a need to strengthen and support the relevant organisations, authorities, stakeholders, health professionals and decision makers in order to make them understand the sexual and reproductive health and rights challenges and why they need to invest more in the area.

AMPF is conducting a series of meetings both on the national level and regionally with Ministry of Health officials, representatives from other relevant ministries and other authorities. The aim is to increase the understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, get increased funding for the area and better coordination between different authorities.

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An example of another level of capacity building is trainings on intrauterine devices for rural medical staff. While making the training and awareness raising sessions, the staff of the local partner AMPF became aware of the high prevalence of uterus infections due to lack of hygienic knowledge. This knowledge will be shared during future meetings with the Ministry of Health in order to make them aware of this problem. Finally the local partner AMPF will strengthen the civil society movement for sexual and reproductive health in Morocco, by partnering and bringing CSOs together with the objective of strengthening joint advocacy efforts.