Members of Parliament have been urged to effectively use the Budgetary Function in order to provide the much needed financial resources to programmes across sectors that deal with Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

This remark was made by the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services, Dr Christopher Kalila, MP at a sensitization workshop for Members of Parliament from selected committees on “The effects of COVID-19 pandemic on SRHR” at Protea Bonanza Hotel in Chongwe District on Saturday, 14th November, 2020.

He said the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has had effects across the health sector and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is no exception especially that some estimates indicate that over the next few years, over 70 million people are likely to fall back into poverty globally in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Kalila stressed that the sensitisation workshop could not come at a better time than now when the House is considering estimates of expenditure for 2021.  He noted that this offered a platform for Members of Parliament through capacitation to identify the target areas and lobby for more resource provision to sectors that support SRHR activities.

Speaking at the same event, Ipas Zambia Country Director, Mrs Grace Tambatamba Chiyaba said it was important to engage Parliamentarians in the wake of change in dynamics which are a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  She reiterated the need for continuous engagement with stakeholders and Parliamentarians in order to promote exchange of information and ideas which would mitigate challenges affecting girls and women on SRHR issues in the COVID-19 era.

The two - day sensitisation workshop which was organised by Ipas Zambia was held from Saturday, 14th November to Sunday, 15th November, 2020 and parliamentarians from the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services; the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance; the Committee on Sport, Youth and Child Affairs; and the Budget Committee participated in the event.

The Members of Parliament were enlightened through various presentations on the negative impact of COVID-19 on all sectors including health services thereby increasing challenges faced in the provision of SRHR services in Zambia.