The Voices for Choice and Rights Coalition (VCRC) launched a Reproductive Justice Centre (RJC) this week, aimed at providing holistic reproductive healthcare services and prioritising the bodily integrity of women, girls and the trans community.
VCRC was established in 2020 to advance the reproductive justice movement in Namibia after a petition was launched, calling for abortion law reform.
The petition also called for the protection and prioritisation of women’s health, women’s rights and gender-diverse persons’ reproductive status.
“The RJC is an initiative we decided to come up with, seeing that the government is failing to provide services,” said VCRC deputy director Tuli Kamati. She added that they decided to venture into health service provision to aid the community in receiving those services.
Most of the time, a lot of women do not have the choice but to fall pregnant because the country runs out of contraceptives or they are raped, molested or condoms burst, said Kamati.
She highlighted that they are advocating for the choice of when to fall pregnant, and the choice to decide whether to keep the pregnancy or terminate it.
Kamati continued that to retain and give back the lost integrity to women and young girls, they will provide them with contraceptives and health education at the RJC clinic.
This, she believes, will give them the opportunity to decide whether or not to fall pregnant.
According to her, the clinic will also have HIV/AIDS screening services and provide referrals for post-abortion care in an event of unsafe abortion.
The clinic is based in Windhoek at the city centre building.
Kamati revealed the coalition is planning to set up clinics in other regions, such as Erongo, Kavango west and Oshikoto due to the high reported teenage pregnancy rate.
Speaking at the event, RJC registered nurse Victor Maliti said, “Currently, in Namibia, when your pregnancy is giving you problems and you are not ready to keep it, they will tell you to keep it due to religious reasons.”
Therefore, he said, they are advocating for women to use different types of family planning available at their clinic.
Maliti maintains the services aim to meet the demand for family planning by making them available, accessible, acceptable and affordable to all women and men of reproductive age.
The team assured counselling will be offered before the particular plan of choice.
“The aim of family planning is to contribute to the health and well-being of women, through reducing maternal infant death rate and illnesses from unwanted and risky pregnancies,” said Maliti.