As part of the main drivers of the BAM Group of Companies, this being the umbrella company within which Informative Newspaper operates, alongside sister brands Finite Magazine, Finite Lifestyle Club, Bam Promotions and Twin Talk, Informative Newspaper takes particular interest in social issues and causes created to advance the development of young girls and women and their participation in the global space.

To advance and cement the organization’s support for women and young girls, the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights is today, through this issue introduced. Its purpose is to advance knowledge and create further awareness on developments surrounding the said community sector and to help audiences stay updated on such, further guiding means of both action and reaction to these developments.

The journey continues…

SADC framework on SRHR and HIV
SADC has a relatively robust legal and policy framework on both HIV and SRHR. The SADC
Protocol on Health contains provisions on HIV, STIs, reproductive and adolescent health.15 SADC
finalised a regional strategy on SRH for the region in 2008, and then developed a SRH business
plan in 2011.

In addition to these key documents, there are a range of regional and sub-regional documents that seek
to advance the rights to a healthy sexual and reproductive life for all SADC citizens.

This is a list of key AU and SADC documents on HIV and SRHR.

• African Union, (2006), Abuja Call for Accelerated Action Towards Universal Access to STI/HIV
and AIDS, TB and Malaria Services in Africa.

• African Union (2006), Maputo Plan of Action for the Operationalisation of the Sexual and
Reproductive Health and Rights Continental Policy Framework.

• SADC (2003), SADC Maseru Declaration on the Fight Against HIV and AIDS.

• SADC, (2004). SADC Protocol on Health. (Signed in 1999 and entered into force in 2004.)

• SADC, (2008), Sexual and Reproductive Health Strategy for the SADC Region 2006–2015.

• SADC (2010), Harmonised Minimum Standards for the Prevention, Treatment and
Management of Tuberculosis in the SADC Region.

• SADC, (2010), Regional Minimum Standards for Harmonised Approaches to the Prevention
of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in the SADC Region.

• SADC, (2010), Regional Minimum Standards for Harmonised Guidance on HIV Testing and
Counselling in the SADC Region.

• SADC (2010), SADC HIV and AIDS Strategy Framework 2010–2015.

• SADC, (2011), Minimum Package of Services for Orphans and other Vulnerable Children and
• SADC, (2012), SADC Minimum Standards for Child and Adolescent HIV, TB and Malaria
Continuum of Care and Support 2013–2017.

• SADC, (2012), Sexual and Reproductive Health Business Plan for SADC Region 2011–2015.

• SADC. Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (EMTCT) Plan.

• SADC, SADC Regional Conceptual Framework for Psychosocial Support for OVC & Youth.

• UNESCO (2013), Time to Act Now. Ministerial Commitment on Comprehensive Sexuality
Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Adolescents and Young People
in Eastern and Southern Africa. UNESCO.

SADC Parliamentary Forum guidance on SRHR

SADC-PF has developed the SADC Model Law on HIV and AIDS and the SADC Model Law
on Eradicating Child Marriage and Protecting Children Already in Marriage, which set
standards for the region with respect to protection from HIV transmission, protection of
key affected populations, collecting of data, confidentiality of patients and SRHR safeguards.

The model laws are key in normative standard-setting and serve as yardstick to assess the HIV and SRHR policies in SADC countries. Issues relating to respect, observance and degree of domestication of the model laws across the region are discussed in the annual Plenary Assembly of the SADC-PF.

Minimum standards for integration of rights
based HIV and SRH services in SADC
The SADC Minimum Standards for the Integration of HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health, published in 2015, are a tool to support efforts by SADC governments to better integrate SRH and HIV into national laws, policies and programmes.

The minimum standards seek to guide SADC countries
to address the key challenges of integrating HIV and SRH, including for key populations, and
ensure the delivery of key health services to those who need them.


Integration is the process of bringing together, in a holistic manner, different kinds of SRH
and HIV and AIDS interventions at the levels of legislation, policy, programming and service
delivery to ensure access to comprehensive services in an efficient and effective manner.18
The first call for integration of SRH and HIV interventions was made at the Cairo ICPD
and since then, several global declarations have been made, including the Glion Call to
Action on Family Planning and HIV and AIDS in Women and Children (2004) and the New
York Call to Commitment: Linking HIV and AIDS and Reproductive Health (2004). The 2001
Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and both Political Declarations on HIV/AIDS (2006
and 2011) recognised the need to link SRH and HIV.

The most recent (2016) Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS commits governments to:

• ensuring universal access to quality, affordable and comprehensive sexual and
reproductive health-care and HIV services, information, and commodities, including
women-initiated prevention commodities, including female condoms, pre- and
post-exposure prophylaxis, emergency contraceptives and other forms of modern
contraceptives by choice, regardless of age or marital status, and ensure that services
comply with human rights standards and that all forms of violence, discrimination and
coercive practices in health-care settings are eliminated and prohibited;

• reducing the risk of HIV infection among adolescent girls and young women by
providing them with quality information and education, mentoring, social protection,
and social services, which evidence shows reduce their risk of HIV infection, by
ensuring girls’ access and transition to secondary and tertiary education and
addressing barriers to retention, and by providing women with psychosocial support
and vocational training to facilitate their transition from education to decent work.

The minimum standards and the role of parliamentarians

The minimum standards set out a framework to guide SADC countries when programming for
services around SRH and HIV and they aim to ensure that all SADC countries meet a set of minimum
requirements necessary to attain the regional integration and development aspirations of SADC. They
are linked to existing related policies, protocols and programmes.

The guiding principles define the values that should be applied and upheld by SADC countries
in the delivery of integrated SRH and HIV services in the SADC region.

These principles are:

• Human rights centred, gender sensitive and respectful of confidentiality: SRH and HIV
services should be guaranteed and provided for all people in a gender-sensitive and age responsive manner, which respects the confidentiality of the clients;

• Involvement and participation: People living with HIV and AIDS, children, adolescents
and youth as well as other key populations and members of the community should be
adequately consulted and supported to participate at all levels of SRH and HIV integration

• Equality and non-discrimination: Policies, programmes and services should uphold non-discrimination practices in all situations, regardless of HIV status, age, sex, gender, sexual
orientation, religion, and sociocultural and economic status;

• Partnerships and holistic approach: Ensure the provision of comprehensive information
and services for SRH, HIV and AIDS and address the related social and economic
determinants through engaging in meaningful partnerships and networks with clearly
defined roles and responsibilities;

• Evidence-based and context-specific: Implementation of SRH and HIV integration
interventions should be guided by evidence and contextualised to country-specific needs,
to ensure sustainability and ownership; and

• Equity and accessibility: The importance of ensuring universal access to SRH and HIV
integrated services by all is recognised, including the particular needs of key populations in
the provision of service.

The role of parliamentarians in ensuring integration of HIV and
SRH services

There is an important role for parliamentarians to play in helping implement the minimum
standards, both in their own countries and at a regional level. They can ensure that the principles
guiding the minimum standards infuse and inform all programming around SRH and HIV,
especially when considering budget items in parliament, and they can also help to ensure that
there is an enabling legal and policy environment to do so.

The minimum standards specifically recommend that national laws are reviewed to ensure that
they promote and do not hinder the integration of SRH and HIV services.

Parliamentarians are well
placed to initiate and conduct these reviews and can undertake the following actions:

• Conduct an assessment of legal frameworks which impact on access to SRH and HIV services
and information for adolescents and youth and key populations, especially men who have sex
with men and sex workers;

• Review or develop new legal frameworks based on the findings of the assessment;

• Review or develop new laws and legal frameworks that promote zero-rate taxation on the
importation of essential sexual and reproductive health and HIV life-saving commodities;

• Promote the local production of these commodities;

• Review, improve or/and enact new laws that address negative cultural practices that hinder
optimal access to SRH and HIV services and information;

• Review, improve or enact new laws to address GBV (including sexual violence) against women,
key populations, children, adolescents and youth; and

• Develop or enact laws that ensure access to and utilisation of SRH and HIV services by key

In addition to leveraging their roles as lawmakers, parliamentarians can also support the
implementation of the minimum standards in other ways:

• They can ensure that budget allocations include funding for the integration of SRH and HIV
services. They can also review and revise existing national and regional budgets on SRH and
HIV to ensure integrated interventions;

• They can support community outreach through public hearings, events and meetings to
engage and help educate their constituents and create a demand for SRH and HIV services in
these communities;

• They can commission or initiate research into key barriers to the integration of HIV and SRH
services; and

• They can develop accountability mechanisms to hold member states accountable for the
implementation of the minimum standards.

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