Dispatch

Visit by Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs

11 March 2016
UNFPA delegation and Swedish delegation in front of the Libondi health zone maternity

The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström, has today been on an official visit to Libondi Health Center, Bubmbu Health Zone, on the occasion of the project Enhancing sexual and reproductive health of young people and adolescent girls and women of reproductive age, particularly the most vulnerable in Kinshasa, funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) agency.

You are the future!

A young girl is sitting on a chair with her newborn daughter on her lap. The child was born four days ago at Libondi Health Center. As she tells her story, she is surrounded by several other young girls who are already, or are about to become mothers. Some boys from the area, as well as medical personnel are all dressed in t-shirts spreading the message of family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Also present are the Representative and Deputy Representative of the UNFPA and their team, together with Health Zone Chief Officer Dr. Benjamin Kilenge and a delegation from Sweden. Everyone looks on as a touching meeting takes place between the young girl and her baby and the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström.

You are the future, declares the Foreign Minister, looking at the girl and the other adolescents. We need to demand that your politicians take care of you and give you what you need. Every person has the same right to a good future, and this starts with the baby and the mother. You should all have the same possibilities as the new Swedish prince who was born yesterday. The Foreign Minister also stressed that women need to feel that they have a role to play in their own lives and this needs to be supported by men.Background

UNFPA DR Congo just received 10 067 690 USD for the project Enhancing sexual and reproductive health of young people and adolescent girls and women of reproductive age, particularly the most vulnerable in Kinshasa. The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA) agency with duration from 2016 – 2019, in cooperation with the UNFPA DRC and other partners. 

The Bumbu Health Zone is one of the 35 health zones in the Kinshasa Province and one of the 10 health zones included in the project. As this health zone has been recognized by its weak capacity and vulnerability, this case demonstrates the project’s relevance for the local community.  In total, the health zone has a population of 390 009 inhabitants, including 81 901 women of reproductive age and 128 702 adolescents and young people.

Visit Program

  • Arrival of the delegation and welcome remarks by Dr. Benjamin Kilenge, Health Zone Chief Officer.
  • Presentation of the reproductive health situation in the Health Zone, by Health Zone Chief Officer.
  • Remarks by the UNFPA Representative, Ms. Diene Keita. Ms. Keita welcomed the Swedish delegation and expressed her gratefulness of their contribution in assuring that young mothers and their babies get the assistance and rights that they deserve. Furthermore, the Representative stressed that this project would continue to save many lives. The gratefulness was expressed by a symbolic gift trophy in glass from the UNFPA to the Minister with the clear message Une femme ne mérite pas la violence (a woman does not deserve violence). Lastly, the UNFPA Representative handed over Medical KITs to the Health Center, including medical equipment and essential medicines for delivery, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and condoms.
  • Testimony given by a young mother who gave birth to her child at the Libondi Health Center four days earlier.
  • Remarks by H.E. Margot Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden.
  • Visit to the Maternity Ward and Postpartum Room by the Minister, the UNFPA Representative and the Health Zone Chief Officer.

List of Participants

  • Ms. Margot Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden
  • Ms. Rebecca Söderberg,  Deputy Director and Advisor of  MoFA;  
  • Ms. Louise Bjarke, Media Advisor of MoFA; 
  • Ms. Anika Ben David, Ambassador of Sweden to the DRC.
  • Mr. Andreas Bengtsson , Deputy Director and Chief Department  of Central, East and Southern Africa;  
  • Ms. Lena Sundh, Swedish Ambassador and Special Envoy to Great Lakes Region.
  • Swedish Embassy staff: Helen Holm, Head of Cooperation; Marie Nilsson, Gender Program Officer and Daniel Magnusson, Health Program Officer.

Other present at the field visit were: (a) UNFPA CO delegation led by Ms. Diene Keita, Representative; (b) Local political, medical and cultural leaders including Chief of Bumbu territory and Chief Medical Officer of Bumbu health zone; (c) Youth leaders and adolescents, girls of early pregnancy and child marriage; (d) Media professionals