Grenada headquarters Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation

Photo caption: CFPA CEO, Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth

Grenada is once again home to the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA), and its key partners, the Ministry of Health and the Grenada Planned Parenthood Association (GPPA), are eager to work together to ensure that marginalised groups receive access to sexual and reproductive health services.

The first CFPA Secretariat was established in Grenada in 1978, later moved to Barbados in 1979, and then to Antigua in April 1989. The relaunch event was held on Friday, 26 January 2024, at the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) Conference Room at St George’s University (SGU).

Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, CEO of CFPA, attended the event. Minister of Health, Wellness and Religious Affairs Phillip Telesford and Dr Tonia Frame, GPPA Board President, were present. Dr Rosmond Adams, CFPA Board President, joined virtually from St Vincent.

Since its establishment in 1971, the CFPA has prioritised advocacy surrounding providing essential services, raising awareness, educating people, and advocating strongly for sexual and reproductive rights, gender equality, and the complete elimination of gender-based violence.

During an interview, Sheerattan-Bisnauth indicated that the decision to move the CFPA secretariat to Grenada comes after a thorough organisational review, focusing on enhancing partnerships and close collaboration with affiliates and partners during the reform and transformation.  

Sheerattan-Bisnauth outlined several priority areas for the organisation moving forward, and one of the main priority areas surrounds women’s right to access safe abortion. “The whole aim is for women to know their rights and for men to know their rights and also to reduce the number of abortions. So rather than have it been done by back street butchers putting women’s health at risk, women can have, you know, an abortion in safe places.”

Another area of focus for the CFPA is reducing reliance on donor funding. 

“We are dependent on donor funding, but we are working towards social enterprise. We’ve been talking about this for some time now, where we can use all our assets, you know, maybe have land building and other assets as such, but we may also have skills to be able to, to generate income to serve the work we are doing to provide for the services that we are doing that we can ensure that the most vulnerable among us can be served,” Sheerattan-Bisnauth said.

CFPA also looks forward to collaborating with WINDREF to facilitate research in the field of sexual and reproductive health and its linkages with family violence.

At the national level, the GPPA is seeking support from the CFPA on critical issues surrounding informed consent and parental consent for access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services and access to safe abortion. 

Dr Frame asserts that these are pressing matters that require attention. “We look forward to having their support around issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights, specifically for adolescents. We have our youth advocacy movement here represented with us: issues around informed consent and parental consent for access to sexual and reproductive health and rights services; access to safe abortion, as it is within the law of Grenada.”

Leselle Pierre Romain, Deputy Chair of the Department of Health and Preventative Medicine, spoke on behalf of department chair Dr Kerry Mitchel. “Acknowledging the fact that there are challenges that were faced by the CFPA and it’ll include things like limited funding under the global pandemic which altered how their services were delivered.” Romain highlighted the importance of collaboration between both institutions. “The unwavering commitment and resilience in providing crucial sexual and reproductive health services is truly a relaunch that signifies a moment of renewed energy and right spirit plans for the future.”

Minister Telesford stressed the imperative of providing comprehensive family planning services to all individuals and addressing maternal and child mortality rates. “Family planning, as we know, is one of the most cost-effective health interventions that can positively affect the health of women, children, families and communities. Family planning is also necessary for us to achieve target 3.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which calls on countries to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning, information and education and the integration of reproductive health international strategies and programmes by the year 2030. But why this is so simply because a country cannot properly develop whereas young women are dying during pregnancy and children are dying in infancy.” 

CFPA is a Caribbean-based organisation that focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality. The organisation comprises 7 members and 5 partners, who promote access to high-quality services and vital information in the region. CFPA primarily focuses on governance, fundraising, and capacity building among its members. The organisation is known for its campaigns and expertise in addressing various sexual and reproductive health issues. CFPA Affiliate Members and Partners are in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bermuda, Curaçao, Grenada, Guyana, Martinique, St Lucia and the USA.

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