Saad Umer/Umer Tariq
ISLAMABAD: To improve health of women and girls in Africa, Asia, Caribbean and Central America, Grand Challenges Canada and partners have launched 18 projects, bringing Canada’s new Feminist International Assistance Policy to life.
According to a press release issued by High Commission of Canada in Pakistan, the projects will extend innovative forms of health-related lifelines to impoverished, neglected and vulnerable women and girls, supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.
The projects launched in Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo, Uganda, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Haiti, and Nicaragua — embrace a range of creative products and services to advance gender equality, promote human dignity, and empower women and girls worldwide.
Improving the use of contraceptives is a top priority identified in Pakistan’s national health plan. The project in Pakistan aims to improve demand for and use of contraception in urban slums through a cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach.
Accompanied by mobile phone and interactive voice-response technology, the CBT approach will use the principles of guided discovery, empathetic listening, problem solving and behavioural activation to address the misconceptions around contraception and empower women in decision making.
The project will organize and train couples to deliver the CBT-based intervention, creating networks of parents working with community health workers to form linkages with private and government family planning service providers.
In his message on the launch, Canadian High Commissioner in Pakistan, Perry J. Calderwood said that, “I am pleased that Canadian funding is translating into innovative programming here in Pakistan”.
“Canada supports empowering women to make informed decisions regarding family planning. When women and girls have access to a full range of reproductive health services, rates of unplanned pregnancies and unsafe and illegal abortions decrease,” the envoy added.
In his message, Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada, Dr. Peter A. Singer said that, “The conditions facing women and girls in low- and middle-income countries almost defy belief but constitute daily reality for millions. Grand Challenges Canada is proud to work with the Government of Canada to enable innovators with bold new ideas to test concepts that may hold the key to a better life for women and girls worldwide, and to scale-up the innovative approaches to empowering women and girls that are already showing promising results.”