— As DKT Int’l pledges to promote quality option for safe sex
Elisabeth Harleman, Counsellor, Head of Development Cooperation and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia, has underscored the importance of sexual and reproductive health for everyone’s well-being, especially young people.
Madam Harleman made the remark on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at a program marking the launch of DKT International Liberia, an international charitable non-profit organization that promotes family planning and HIV prevention through social marketing.
She said sexual reproductive health and rights is a priority within the Swedish Development Cooperation with Liberia. Madam Harleman said young people remain an important part of DKT’s work in Liberia.
Madam Harleman said Sweden’s support to DKT International in Liberia will enable the organization to grow the market for both short-term and long-term contraceptive methods as well as safe abortion products in Liberia.
The launch of DKT programs will feature some newly manufactured products and services to the public and will mark a turning point in Liberia’s healthcare sector by joining efforts with key partners such as the Swedish Embassy, Ministry of Health (MoH) and representative of the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA).
She said in order for young people — both boys and girls — to take advantage of society’s opportunities, including education and work and to contribute to economic growth, they must be given the opportunity to have a responsible, satisfying and safe sex life without coercion, violence, discrimination or the risk of becoming involuntarily pregnant or being infected by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
“DKT International will assist to secure commodity security for sexual and reproductive health products for wide and consistent distribution. DKT will reach underserved areas and introduce new products such as manual vacuum aspiration, medical abortion and emergency contraception,” Madam Harleman said.
She said the Swedish government welcomes ongoing initiatives by Liberia’s health ministry in the reform of public health law to increase legal access and to safe abortion and post-abortion care for a safer life.
Madam Harleman added, “Earlier this year, Sweden awarded a contract to DKT International that is worth up to US$40 million to the project ‘Access Sexual Reproductive Health and Right! Improving Demand, Availability, and Access in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The program was launched under the theme, “Let’s Celebrate the Official Kick-off of DKT Project Together: Together We Can Increase the Access of Liberians to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.”
DKT International promotes sexual and reproductive health and rights. The entity strives to accomplish its mission through the sale of affordable condoms and by providing other high quality yet inexpensive options for safe sex and birth control.
“In DKT, we believe that all women and men have a fundamental right to decide whether and when to become parents, regardless of their country of origin or socioeconomic status,” one partner said.
DKT International country manager Liberia, Antonio Turcott, expressed gratitude to the Swedish Embassy for trusting DKT International on an amazing project.
Mr. Turcott said with the support of partners, DKT will increase access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Liberia, stating that “DKT is grateful to serve Liberians.”
He said working together with all the available structures in Liberia will improve the lives of Liberians, especially young people. He assured the public of decentralizing the activities of the organization.
Dr. Philderald E. Pratt, Assistant of United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA), lauded DKT for the program and promised to collaborate with them.
Bentoe Zoogley-Tehoungue, director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health (MOH) who officially launched DKT International Liberia, said Liberia continues to struggle with sexual reproductive health and rights. Mrs. Tehoungue said reports suggest that 62 percent of pregnancies are unintended.
“This girl does not intend to get pregnant, but may have been doing it out of pleasure or because of livelihood, which is open secret in Liberia. Again, there are couples who want to use family planning but don’t have it. Liberia continues to struggle to increase contraceptive rights,” Mrs. Tehoungue said.
She said the issue of unsafe abortion continues to frighten authorities at the ministry. Mrs. Tehoungue said family planning is the single most intervention and, when done comprehensively and with quality, can avert maternal mortality by 2030.