On Friday 18th March 2022, MSI’s team in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were delighted to host the British Ambassador to DRC, Ms Emily Maltman, at our UK Aid-funded MSI Ladies programme in Kinshasa.
The visit coincided with the extension of the Women’s Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) programme – the flagship women’s health programme from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), increasing access to sexual and reproductive health and rights across West and Central Africa, including DRC.
Over the past three years, MSI has led the WISH Lot 1 consortium, including our partners at IPPF, Ipas, DKT International, Options, ABEF and others. Thanks to support from UK Aid, the WISH programme has averted an estimated 295,000 unsafe abortions, saving 3,600 lives in DRC to date.
As of December 2021, over 700,000 women and girls in DRC were using a method of contraception provided by our WISH consortium. These included women and girls often left behind by healthcare. For example, one in five clients (21%) were adolescents – a group often excluded from sexual and reproductive healthcare, but for whom we have tailored programmes, ensuring young people can determine their own futures.
Through the WISH extension, we are delighted to have the opportunity to continue this life-saving and life-changing work, by partnering with national governments and civil society organisations to expand access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in DRC and across West and Central Africa.
To celebrate the WISH programme extension and witness the impact of UK aid on the health, lives and futures of women and girls in DRC, Ms Emily Maltman visited Henriette, an MSI Lady and trained midwife who delivers tailored healthcare to women in her local community in Kinshasa. The Ambassador joined Henriette as she conducted activities to build community awareness of sexual and reproductive health and rights and the services available.
The Ambassador’s visit also included a trip to a ‘centre of excellence in comprehensive abortion care’ in a Kinshasa hospital supported by our partners at Ipas, where providers are being trained to roll out the new Standards and Guidelines for Comprehensive Abortion Care, supported through the WISH programme.
Commenting on the trip on Twitter, the British Ambassador to DRC, Ms Emily Maltman, shared:
“I was delighted to see the great work of the WISH programme supported by UK aid in Selembao, Kinshasa. Every woman and girl should have the right to decide if, when and how many children she has. Accessing services in Kinshasa and other provinces is easy via the MSI DRC contact centre.”
Welcoming the visit and the extension of the WISH programme, MSI’s Director for WISH, Caroline Guinard shared:
“We are delighted about the excellent news that the WISH programme has been extended, and to have hosted the Ambassador to DRC at our UK-aid supported site on Friday, marking the impact that this extension will have on the health, lives and futures of women and girls in DRC.”
“We are hugely looking forward to continuing our work, as a consortium, to build on the impressive achievements already seen over the past 3 years of the WISH programme. Together, we will continue to strengthen access to high-quality, integrated sexual and reproductive healthcare for marginalised women and girls, contributing to greater national ownership and sustainability for reproductive health and rights across West and Central Africa. We are so grateful for the continued support provided by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and are hugely excited to kick off this next phase of WISH.”