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Bayer Middle East partners with UNFPA to support Ministry of Health and Population’s family planning campaign

Bayer Middle East has announced the launch of a strategic five-year family planning partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Egypt to support the Ministry of Health and Population’s campaign entitled ‘Your Right to Plan’. The campaign promotes rights-based approach to family planning and offers free family planning services. Furthermore, the campaign aims to provide access to family planning and reproductive health services, to raise community awareness and increase demand for family planning services to Egypt’s underserved communities.

The event took place on September 26 at the Cairo Marriott Hotel, on World Contraception Day. The event brought together key stakeholders such as H.E. Mr. Frank Hartmann, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr. Hossam Abbas Elgalad, Head of Family Planning Sector at the Ministry of Health and Population and Dr. Ahmed El Minawi, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Cairo University & Director of the Virtual Endoscopic Simulation and Skills Acquisition, marking the commencement of the five-year strategic partnership between Bayer Middle East and the UNFPA Egypt.

The ‘Your Right to Plan’ campaign is a comprehensive program developed by the Ministry of Health's Family Planning Sector, in collaboration with UNFPA and previously supported by the European Union in Egypt, to provide resources to underserved communities concerning reproductive health and family planning services in Egypt. Bayer Middle East has pledged to co-fund the program with a total donation of EUR 330,000, with EUR 50,000 to be given in 2021 and EUR 70,000 each year from 2022 until 2025. 

Egypt's population has reached 102,170,000 people, with one birth happening every 14 seconds - the eighth highest birth rate in the world. That is four births a minute, or 255 births every hour, or 6,000 births a day. Without any further targeted interventions, the population can rise to to 160 million by 2050, against the current trend as per CAPMAS latest report. As Egypt witnesses this very rapid growth in its population, immense pressure on the domestic economy and healthcare system could occur.

For 50 years now, Bayer has been working with a network of public and private partners to enable women and girls to assert their right to self-determined family planning worldwide. Family Planning is an important step toward breaking the cycle of poverty – both for women and their families and for the countries where they live. Improving people's quality of life, investing in education, securing resources for the entire population, protecting the environment, can be achieved through a targeted and dynamic family planning initiative.

Through this joint effort, UNFPA and Bayer aim to reach a total of 200,000 women with modern contraceptives as well as 300,000 women with access to essential educational reproductive health awareness messages and services. The campaign will support target groups by providing access to vital reproductive health services such as OB-GYN examinations, ultrasound diagnosis, antenatal care, and pediatric and newborn services. Community-based distribution campaigns via mobile clinics will be held to increase access and use of family planning services, particularly in the underserved rural areas.

Another main activity of the campaign includes holding awareness-raising seminars for women of reproductive age in Egypt, to emphasize the importance of family planning and benefits of small families. This will target their spouses, to ensure male engagement and support to family planning, as well as mothers in law and mothers, who are believed to influence the family planning behavior of married couples in Egypt.

Commenting on the strategic partnership, Frederika Meijer, UNFPA Representative in Egypt, said, "Our partnership with Bayer Middle East is directed to the 'Your Right to Plan' campaign. The contribution aims at reaching underserved areas. Access to family planning services is central to achieving gender equality. When women and couples have the information and services to plan whether and when they want to have children, then a woman’s autonomy within the household is increased, her likelihood of staying in the workforce is increased and her overall earnings are improved. This strengthens both her economic security and well-being and that of her family. This initiative will therefore greatly contribute to the Governments’ aim to stabilize population growth with Egypt’s economy. It focuses on those who are most difficult to reach and is in line with UNFPA’s strategic vision of reaching ZERO unmet need for family planning.”

Samer Lezzaiq, Managing Director and Commercial Area Head Pharmaceuticals Division – Egypt, added, "We are constantly working to fulfill our vision here at Bayer, which is ‘Health for All, Hunger for None’. We are very pleased to join forces with capable UN organisations such as UNFPA who share our values and materialize this aim as we all work on promoting access to health resources and services, raising standards, and supporting reproductive health awareness in our core communities, one of which is Egypt.”

“This campaign in particular supports our sustainability targets to provide 100 million women in underserved communities with access to modern contraception which is in syncronization with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals 3 on Good health and Well being. Moreover, our engagement is fully in line with Bayer’s strategic charitable giving approach aimed at long-term change and societal progress,” stated Sami Joost, Head of Communications / Public Affairs, Science & Sustainability (PASS) – Middle East.