Interfaith prayers for improved access to sexual and reproductive health

Kigali, RWANDA – 12 NOVEMBER 2018 (F2A) – 200 faith leaders and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) advocates from across the world, jointly commemorated lost lives due to maternal mortality, prayed to overcome obstacles in enabling access to SRH services and celebrated progress in uptake of family planning. Faith to Action Network, Christian Connections for International Health and the Rwandese faith community hosted interfaith prayers on the eve of the fifth International Conference on Family Planning.

Interfaith prayers: Remembrance

Interfaith prayers: Overcoming challenges

Interfaith prayers: Celebrating achievements

Closing interfaith prayer

The interfaith prayers reminded participants of lives that should not have been taken away by preventable causes: “Life is a gift from God and is sacred. It ought not to be taken away by preventable causes. We are mindful of those who for lack of information, support and care have lost their lives through childbirth or abortion or conflict; we plead to God for forgiveness. We uphold their families and may this loss inspire us to invest ourselves and our resources, towards improving the conditions of the human family.”

They prayed for overcoming challenges and obstacles on the way to universal access to sexual and reproductive health. “We are mindful of challenges and obstacles along the path of providing family planning to our communities. For instance, there is a lack of access to services due to distances, cost, lack of trained personnel, insecurity, and remoteness; there are challenges in how policies do not support family planning; there are cultures that encourage early marriage and religious leaders who oppose FP; there are government policies in which girls do not go back to school if pregnant. There are women who are raped or used as weapons of war during conflicts.”

Jointly, participants celebrated achievements and gave thanks for progress realized in sexual and reproductive health: “We are thankful for health services that reach the last mile and increasing availability of low cost of services offered by faith facilities. We celebrate religious leaders who openly support access to sexual and reproductive health services; for increasing collaboration between governments and faith communities in providing quality and accessible services. We are thankful for the increase in uptake in family planning that has reduced maternal mortality and child mortality. We celebrate the youth that are in school and contributing to vibrant economies in their countries.”

Together, faith leaders and SRH advocates committed themselves “to being a source of information and encouragement to enable those affected to take informed and responsible decisions. We commit to continuing to provide and support quality family planning service delivery, referrals, and products to all communities.”

Interfaith celebrations for family planning, health and wellbeing

 

 

 

 

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