The launch of ICMA African Network on Medical Abortion

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On 11-13 March, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa, The International Consortium for Medical Abortion (ICMA) in collaboration with Ipas Africa Alliance for Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights organized the conference “Developing an African network on safe abortion”.
The aim of this meeting is to discuss the possibility of developing an African regional network to share information, experiences and ideas for advocacy, and to promote access to medical abortion within the context of safe abortion. 
The meeting included in-depth information about medical abortion and gave space for participants to report on the situation of abortion in their countries, including availability and use of medical abortion. It were also discussed the role, objectives, structure and scope of work of any African regional network as well as the development of relevant regional strategies. The other regional networks associated with ICMA are independent entities, choose their own staff and steering committees, and develop their own activities.  
62 participants from 20 African countries have been present at the conference. The ICMA African Network on Medical Abortion, was formally launched at the conference.  A 9-member Steering Committee with regional representation has been identified.  Djingarey Maiga, an activist from Mali, current director of the "Femmes et Droits Humains" NGO was elected as the coordinator.
Initial goals of the ICMA Africa Network are to facilitate the provision of safe and effective medical abortion by registering the drugs in more countries and developing the capacity of local partners to educate others about medical abortion, and introduce medical abortion both in countries where abortion is not legal, and in countries where it is legal but not well implemented and creating an overview of the Africa Region to identify existing networks and coalitions.


Day 1:             11 March 2009    Overview of abortion/medical abortion
8:00 – 9:00    Registration
Chairs            Djingarey Ibrahim Maiga (Mali) / Asma’u Joda (Nigeria)
9:00 - 9:10     Welcome Noziwe Madlala Routledge  Deputy Speaker of Parliament South Africa
9:10 - 9:20    Objectives and process of the meeting  Djingarey Ibrahim Maiga / Asma’u Joda
9:20-10:30   Participants introduce themselves − name, position, institution, city, country and    main expectation from the meeting (1 minute each)               
10:30-11:00 Tea
11:00-11:20   Introduction to ICMA/Ipas − Rodica Comendant (Moldova) / Mosotho Gabriel (Kenya)
11:20-12:00  Overview of law, policy and practice with regard to abortion/medical abortion in 
                     sub–Saharan Africa and MENA region − Mosotho Gabriel (Kenya) / Mawaheb El-Mouelhy  (Egypt)

12:00-13:00  Brief reports on current changes in the situation relating to abortion in some countries −   name 4 key issues re law, policy, programmes, services (5 minutes per country)

Discussion/comments from the floor
1:00–2:00   Lunch
Chairs         Aimee Patricia Ndembi Ndembi (Gabon) / Charles Kiggundu (Uganda)

2:00-2:45  Mifepristone + misoprostol in clinical settings  Danielle Hassoun (France) Drugs,  regimens at the three stages of pregnancy, safety, effectiveness, comparison to aspiration abortion, signs of complete and incomplete abortion, aspiration for incomplete abortion, complications and what to do, service delivery requirements.

2:45-3:00  Questions/discussion
3:00-3:45  Public policy and provision of medical abortion in three African countries
3:45-4:00   Questions/discussion
4:00-4:30   Tea
4:30-5:00   Purchase from drug sellers of misoprostol and self-medication in Africa: what is  happening at the grassroots
  • Zambia          Ameck Ariel Kamanga
  • Kenya            Joachim Odour Osur
  • Cameroon    Esther Endale
5:00-5:10   Questions/discussion
5:10-5:20  Making medical abortion drugs available in Africa and introductory strategies Peter Hall (Switzerland)
5:20-5:30   Questions/discussion
Day 2:            Thursday 12 March 2009                    Regional networks on abortion in Africa
Chairs        Shaze Bala Mohamed Elmahdi (Sudan) /Maria de los Angeles Alene Mba (Equatorial Guinea)
9:00-10:30  Summary − Day 1
Existing regional networks ICMA-associated regional networks on abortion  (10 minutes each)
  • Asia Safe Abortion Partnership (ASAP)  Suchrita Dalvie (India)
  • Eastern European Alliance for Reproductive Choice (EEARC)  Rodica Comendant
  • Latin American Consortium against Unsafe Abortion (CLACAI)  Silvina Ramos (Argentina)
African networks on abortion – objectives, members, key issues
  • Ipas Africa Alliance for Women’s Reproductive Health Rights  Mosotho Gabriel
  • FIGO Safe Abortion Project  Charles Kiggundu (Uganda)
  • Middle Africa Network;Aimee Patricia Ndembi Ndembi (Gabon)
  • Global Doctors for Choice  Chelsea Morroni (South Africa);
Questions/ discussion
10:30-11:00   Tea
Chairs            Saba Kidamamariam (Ethiopia) / Panda Pierre (Democratic Republic of Congo)
11:00-1:00   Plenary discussion
  • Why is there a need for an African network on safe abortion, either specifically on
  • medical abortion, or broader?
  • What should the aims of such a new network be?
  • What should it do that the other African networks are not doing?
  • Who should be involved?
  • What are the main challenges?                  
1:00-2:00   Lunch
Chairs         Nana Oye Lithur (Ghana) / Getachew Bekele (Ethiopia)
2:00-3:30   Plenary discussion  continued
  • Shall we set up such a network?
  • What would each participant (organisation) here offer to bring to such a network and what would you like to get from it?                    
3:30-4:00  Tea
Chairs            Otobo Ujah (Nigeria) / Laurence Odounlami Monteiro (Benin)
4:00-5:30  Plenary discussion continued
  • Given the diversity of the continent, would it be better to set up several sub-regional networks within Africa (geographic/linguistic)?
  • Or is it better to stay as one network until we have shared experience, discussed
  • priorities and decided what we want to do?
Day 3:             Friday 13 March 2009             Network structure, objectives, key activities
Chairs            Faysal El Kak (Lebanon) / Mountaga Toure (Mali)
9:00-10:30        Summary − Day 2

                     Review and discussion

  • Goals, objectives, key activities, outputs of the network.
  • How to address the key issues in order to achieve the desired outcomes.
  • Determine structure and membership, (organizational and/or individual)
  • Elect steering committee and coordinator(s)
  • Decide date and place of first meeting.
  • Discuss funding of the activities and functioning of the network.
  • Brainstorm the name.

1:00-2:00          Lunch (and Steering Committee/Coordinator(s) meet)


List of Participants

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