Ambassador for Family Planning Appointed in Burkina Faso
May 12, 2017
Signaling Burkina Faso's leadership in family planning, Professor Nicolas Meda, minister of health, appointed Anne Thieba, wife of Prime Minister Paul Kaba Thieba, as ambassador for family planning at a moving and powerful ceremony on May 12, 2017 in Sandogo. Announcing her new role, Meda spoke openly of his ambitious expectations for the new ambassador's contributions toward the achievement of Burkina Faso's family planning and development objectives.
The ceremony was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through its AgirPF and MSI partners, who organized the event. UNFPA Burkina Faso and USAID also supported the event in close collaboration and coordination with Ministry of Health officials. The USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project contributed under the guidance of Bijou Muhura, health director of USAID Burkina Faso.
Thieba's appointment comes as Burkina Faso is beginning to develop its second Costed Implementation Plan for Family Planning, aiming to achieve a contraceptive prevalence rate of 32 percent by 2020, up from the current rate of 22 percent. The strong political support shown by Thieba's appointment will help the Ministry of Health and its partners intensify efforts to meet these goals.
In the short time since her appointment, Thieba has visited health facilities, attended key meetings, and secured a strong commitment from the president of Burkina Faso and the president of the national assembly to work with her and increase the national budget for family planning.
The role of the new ambassador includes:
- Contributing to the achievement of Burkina Faso's sustainable development objectives
- Contributing to the goals of Family Planning 2020 and the Ouagadougou Partnership
- Ensuring the effective implementation of the Burkina Faso Family Planning Acceleration Plan (2017–2020)
- Promoting the active participation of women and girls in family planning
- Stimulating a new impetus, particularly among decision-makers at the highest level, for Burkina Faso to benefit from the demographic dividend
- Ensuring the active participation of the development, civil society, and private sectors in the design, implementation, and monitoring of family planning activities
- Periodically (twice a year) engaging all key actors involved in the implementation of family planning activities
Burkina Faso is at the forefront of effective repositioning of family planning in Francophone West Africa. Previously, the country mobilized 500 million West African CFA francs (FCFA) for the purchase of contraceptives, making it possible to halve the price of contraceptives. While this was recently reduced to 150 million FCFA following the recent politico-military crisis, a firm commitment has been made by the new authorities to return to the 500 million FCFA commitment and even increase it.
Indeed, this is the time to act if Burkina Faso wants to benefit from the demographic dividend. The weight of inaction could weigh heavily on the future of Burkina Faso. Thieba's appointment should inspire other leaders to become more involved in the repositioning of family planning in Francophone West Africa, where such action is greatly needed.