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Celebration of ICPD 25th Anniversary in Burundi

27 September 2019
Celebration of ICPD 25th Anniversary in Burundi

"I had a very bad company and my two great friends fell pregnant early; I was scared, I did not want to live the same experience", shared Noëlla Miburo, a 19-year-old girl living at Buye in Ngozi province (North of Burundi). She added: "I went to Buye's youth-friendly health center in Ngozi; I met other young people with whom we learned a lot about the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people and the importance for the girl to stay in school as long as possible".

Noëlla shared her testimony at Burundi's celebration of the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in the province of Ngozi, hosted by the First Lady of Burundi, HE Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza. According to Noëlla, at Buye's youth-friendly health center, a group of 28 young people who have become peer educators has been formed to share their knowledge in their community but also at school to protect and prevent adolescents and young people from compromising their future and potential through early marriages and / or early pregnancies.


Noella Miburo sharing her testimony, accompanied by other young
​​​​​people peer educators at Buye's Youth- Friendly Health Center.
UNFPA Burundi/ Queen BM Nyeniteka

Testimonies weren’t shared by only young people but also by women who have been reestablished in their dignity by treatment of obstetric fistula. Eugenie Niyonsaba is a 41-year-old woman and was married when she was 16 years old. She has been suffering from obstetric fistula for 15 years. "For 15 years I lived with obstetric fistula without understanding what was happening to me. Our couple life has been through the nightmare during those 15 years but my husband has been an unwavering support", shared Eugenie. Her husband, Richard Barekayo testified the pain it caused to see his wife stay away all the time in the pain of loneliness because of the smells it emitted. "We are now happy because my wife was treated in 2016; It was too difficult for all of us but now thank God it's past", he added with a big smile on his face. Eugénie Niyonsaba is one of 2716 women living with obstetric fistula who have been treated in Burundi from 2010 to 2018. She took the opportunity to sensitize girls to avoid early marriage and early pregnancy. She sensitized couples to always give birth in health facilities because obstetric fistula is treatable and above all it is preventable.


"For 15years i lived with Obstetric Fistula without understanding what 
was happening to me.We have been through nightmare but my
husband has been an unwavering support", shared Eugenie.
"...It was too difficult for all of us but thank God it's past", shared his
husband Richard with a big smile.
​​​​​UNFPA Burundi/Queen BM Nyeniteka

High-level representation, strong messages shared


Most of participants were wearing UNFPA messages: "Ensuring Rights
and Choices for all" in 3 languages (Kirundi, French and English).
UNFPA Burundi/ Queen BM Nyeniteka

 


Most of participants were wearing UNFPA messages:
"Ensuring Rights and Choices for all" in 3 languages
(Kirundi, French and English).
UNFPA Burundi/ Queen BM Nyeniteka

The launch of the 25th anniversary of the ICPD by Burundi saw the participation of Ministers, Members of Parliament, Senators, Governors and other government officials, representatives of UN agencies including the UN Resident Coordinator in Burundi, as well as the involvement of provincial governors, provincial health directors, youth, Ngozi residents, Civil Society Organizations, etc. Most of them were wearing UNFPA message: "Ensuring Rights and choices for all" in three languages (Kirundi, French and English). The mood was there to celebrate the great progress that Burundi has made in the past 25 years, and it was celebrated at the rhythm of the Burundian drum, folk songs and dances centered on reproductive health and family planning messages.

"25 years after the Cairo Conference, the changes are visible in Burundi", said the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System. Indeed, the average number of births per woman has decreased from 7 children in the 1990s to 5.5 today; the number of maternal deaths dropped substantially from 500 per 100,000 live births in 2010 to 334 in 2017, almost 40% decrease. In addition, 18% of women used modern methods of contraception in 2010, compared to 23% in 2017. Thanks to this considerable progress and access to informed and voluntary contraceptive services, an increasing number of families are able to plan their family and space better their children, as evidenced by Nadine Sabushimike and Jean Paul Mugabonutwiwe, couple with three children aged 12, 7 and 2 years old. Through Family Planning, they can ensure a better future for their offspring.


"Thank to Family Planning, the future of our children is assured,
my wife is healthy and autonomous.Together we do not fear
our tomorrow and we are confident about our children future" shared JP
​​​​​​UNFPA Burundi/ Queen BM Nyeniteka

"My wife and I understand that it is very much important to think about the development of the family and the future of our children. Thanks to Family Planning, the future of our children is assured, my wife is healthy and autonomous and together we do not fear our tomorrow and we are confident about our children future", said Jean Paul Mugabonutwiwe, alongside his wife Nadine Sabushimike. The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Burundi, Dr Garry Conille, recognized the great achievements of the last 25 years but pointed out that there is more progress to be made in honoring the commitments made in Cairo. "Many women are still deprived of their rights to reproductive health; indeed, more than 31% of women would like to avoid pregnancy but do not have access to information and services related to modern contraception", he said. As for youth, he added that young people constitute an important potential for development if they are formed, protected and in good health: "Moreover, the sexual and reproductive health of the population and in particular of young people is important for achieving Sustainable Development Goals and reaping Demographic Dividend ".

High level political declaration and commitment to Family Planning and women and adolescent health.

Addressing Population and development issues is a high priority in Burundi. Various national developments frameworks such The National Development plan 2018-2027, the domesticated sustainable development goals, as well as various political declaration all points to the need to manage better population and development, address high fertility through voluntary family planning. The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi is a very strong advocate of women, children, adolescent and youth’ wellbeing. She is consistently in the field in provinces, districts, communities to mobilize all stakeholders including administrative, religious, youth and women leaders. In recognition of her relentless effort and leadership, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System with Dr Richmond Tiemoko, the Resident Representative of UNFPA seized this opportunity to give the First Lady of Burundi a certificate of honor on behalf of UNFPA for her contribution to the ICPD Agenda through mobilization of administrative and religious leaders, young people and women around Family Planning and Maternal Health.


The UN Resident Coordinator,Garry Conille (Left) and UNFPA
Resident Representative, Dr Richmond Tiemoko (Right) seized the
opportunity to give the First Lady of Burundi a certificate of honor
on behalf of UNFPA for her contribution to the ICPD Agenda.
UNFPA Burundi / Queen BM Nyeniteka

For his part, the Minister in charge of Public Health and the Fight against HIV AIDS, Dr Thaddée Ndikumana welcomed the progress already made thanks to the support of the Government and its partners and added that it is necessary to ensure capacity building of community health workers and availability of contraceptives in health facilities. Dr. Thaddée Ndikumana thanked also the First Lady on behalf of his ministry for her unwavering commitment to the promotion of family planning and maternal and child health.

Galloping demography, a brake for the country development


HE The First Lady of Burundi, Mrs Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza:
"Burundi has made progress but it is still an unfinished business. 
To accelerate the progress, the participation of husband
and his wife in the couple and the entire population is definitely needed".
UNFPA Burundi / Queen BM Nyeniteka

"No longer needed to demonstrate that population is a wealth for a country, but it becomes a handicap when its growth does not go hand in hand with development" said the First Lady of the Republic of Burundi, HE Mrs. Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza. She noted the considerable progress Burundi has made but warned that that is still an unfinished business. To accelerate progress, she emphasized the participation of the entire couple, husband and wife, in the promotion of family planning will be needed. The First Lady of Burundi mentioned how she has been organizing sensitization sessions for administrative leaders, leaders of various religious denominations, women, men and young people in order to mobilize them on the very important question issue of Reproductive Health to achieve Sustainable Development. She emphasized the responsibility of everyone supporting and promoting maternal, newborn and child health and family planning. The First Lady used the opportunity to call on a) parliamentarians to go to their constituencies, to the people who elected them to make them aware of the importance of family planning; the media to do more programming on this, and parents to engage in dialogue with their children from an early age to fight early marriage, unplanned pregnancy and gender-based violence.

Champions Recognition

This 25-year celebration of the ICPD was also an opportunity to congratulate and encourage champions in various areas of the ICPD POA especially a) promoting family planning, b) mentoring young people, c) promoting the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people, and d) Fight against gender based violence. For example, health care facilities, GBV victims’ centers and individual champions in the promotion of family planning, maternal health, youth education and the fight against gender-based violence received certificate of appreciation.


On the 25 years celebration of ICPD Champions were congratulated
and encouraged. UNFPA Burundi / Queen BM Nyeniteka
​​​​

It should be noted that this celebration of the 25th anniversary was part of the implementation of the roadmap that the Government of Burundi and UNFPA agreed to prepare for the Nairobi summit of 12-14 November, 2019, where the same event will be celebrated at the global level. Earlier in June Burundi Parliamentarians discussed the national report of the ICPD25 and made 10 points recommendation and commitment to accelerate progress.

By Queen BM Nyeniteka