EARM 2023: Medical Students for Choice Advocate for Men’s Involvement in SRHR

Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) recently held the East Africa Regional Meeting 2023 at the Grand Legacy Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda. The meeting brought together advocates from Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, DRC, Tanzania, Malawi, and Somalia, with the aim of shaping the future by promoting universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, with a specific focus on safe abortion.

During the East African Regional Meeting, Medical Students for Choice (MSFC) got a platform to engage in discussions and learn about reproductive health and abortion care, They gained valuable knowledge and skills that are often not covered in their regular curriculum.

MSFC believes that everyone should have access to health services that align with their personal and cultural values, enabling them to lead safe and healthy lives.

During the regional meeting, a panel discussion took place, where panelists highlighted the importance of involving men and boys in conversations about comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights. They emphasized how their involvement contributes to better overall outcomes.

Dr. Jean Berchmas Delivering his Keynote Speech

Dr. Jean Berchmas, an alumni of MSFC and co-founder of Flavors of Family Planning, delivered the keynote speech at the event. He commended African leaders and future physicians for their efforts since the establishment of the first Africa MSFC chapter. His speech was an inspiring call for unified advocacy.

Joseph Ryarasa Delivering his Keynote Speech

Joseph Ryarasa, the keynote speaker, emphasized that choosing a career in this field is an extraordinary opportunity that comes with a great responsibility, commitment, and passion for the wellbeing of others.

The event also featured presentations from different MSFC chapters. Uganda’s Mbarara University MSFC chapter, for instance, conducted an activity called ‘Sexual and Reproductive Health Education and Advocacy through MUST Health Week’. This was complemented by other activities, including advocacy work in partnership with other health organizations.

One notable intervention adopted by the Uganda chapter was the use of peer educators, particularly from Uganda Christian University. This approach allowed them to extend their impact to larger communities.

Julius presenting on behalf of Makerere University MSFC chapter

During the presentations, Julius from the MSFC Uganda chapter at Makerere University discussed their activities, which included curriculum reform to incorporate comprehensive sexual education (CSE), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and safe abortion. The pivotal role played by MSFC headquarters in the execution of their activities was also acknowledged.

The East African MSFC regional meeting successfully equipped all attending Medical Students with the necessary skills to provide comprehensive and compassionate care to their future patients. This meeting has played a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare by empowering medical students and fostering public engagement.