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Mallah Tabot

Lead, SRHR Architect of Cooperation

Mallah is the Lead, SRHR Architect of Cooperation at IPPF Africa Regional Office. Here, she supports the growth and development of Member Associations and Collaborative Partners while leading strategic direction and leadership on SRHR, and driving sustainable, innovative and cost-effective strategies to deliver quality, rights based and comprehensive SRHR information, services and programmes. 

Articles by Mallah Tabot

ippf-kenya
20 November 2023

Reimagining family planning: beyond opinion leaders and service uptake indicators

This featured perspective was originally published as a Comment in The Lancet, Vol 11, December 2023. Click here to view the original or scroll down to download the PDF. In The Lancet Global Health, Agrey H Mwakisole and colleagues explore the role of Christian religious leaders in promoting family planning in rural Tanzania. Given the roles that religious leaders can hold as trusted community messengers, the Article provides strong recommendations for including them in family planning initiatives, suggesting that, as an innovative and adaptable strategy, it could contribute positively to global initiatives towards universal access to modern contraception, if implemented broadly. The researchers also engaged equal numbers of male and female religious leaders, and data from this study suggest that the intervention increased women’s autonomy to choose to use contraception. There are a lot of data to support this approach. Faith leaders have been shown to hold power as opinion leaders and critical agents of change, with a study demonstrating the improved effectiveness of health behaviour change programmes focused on concerns such as nutrition and fitness when provided by members of the clergy. When it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues such as access to contraception, a study substantiates this correlation that religious leaders can improve access to contraceptives, especially in settings where religion plays an important role in the socioeconomic fabric of society. In this Comment, we challenge readers to question some of the bigger implications of this strategy, and how, although effective in facilitating uptake of contraceptive services, engaging religious leaders could reinforce existing power dynamics and potentially compromise women’s autonomy and decision making, especially when it comes to realising their reproductive intentions. We also worry about the continued emphasis on contraceptive uptake as the most important indicator in the global family planning community, and finally encourage the move from family planning as a siloed issue in reproductive health, to one shaped by deeper social, economic, and cultural factors.  

Roe v Wade
24 June 2023

One year post-Roe, Africa finds itself at a critical juncture for reproductive rights

On 24 June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade in a landmark ruling that removed the constitutional right to abortion. The repeal means the US joins just three other countries - Poland, Nicaragua and El Salvador - that have removed legal grounds for abortion since 1994. In contrast, 61 other countries have liberalized abortion laws - some of which came in direct response to the repeal of Roe v Wade. While we grapple with providing safe abortion care in these uncertain times, we are reminded that countries like the US, which have historically set the global abortion agenda, are no longer the right or the only leaders. In Africa, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. Amidst these challenges, there have been significant triumphs that inspire hope for a future where reproductive justice is upheld. For example, one month after the US ruling last year, Sierra Leone approved a draft law to decriminalize abortion, in a monumental step towards the repeal of its colonial-era laws. Benin has also enacted one of the most progressive abortion laws in Africa, demonstrating the potential for change even in the face of adversity. In Kenya, the High Court ruled that safe abortion is a fundamental right, and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution for seeking or offering such services are completely illegal.

ippf-kenya
20 November 2023

Reimagining family planning: beyond opinion leaders and service uptake indicators

This featured perspective was originally published as a Comment in The Lancet, Vol 11, December 2023. Click here to view the original or scroll down to download the PDF. In The Lancet Global Health, Agrey H Mwakisole and colleagues explore the role of Christian religious leaders in promoting family planning in rural Tanzania. Given the roles that religious leaders can hold as trusted community messengers, the Article provides strong recommendations for including them in family planning initiatives, suggesting that, as an innovative and adaptable strategy, it could contribute positively to global initiatives towards universal access to modern contraception, if implemented broadly. The researchers also engaged equal numbers of male and female religious leaders, and data from this study suggest that the intervention increased women’s autonomy to choose to use contraception. There are a lot of data to support this approach. Faith leaders have been shown to hold power as opinion leaders and critical agents of change, with a study demonstrating the improved effectiveness of health behaviour change programmes focused on concerns such as nutrition and fitness when provided by members of the clergy. When it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) issues such as access to contraception, a study substantiates this correlation that religious leaders can improve access to contraceptives, especially in settings where religion plays an important role in the socioeconomic fabric of society. In this Comment, we challenge readers to question some of the bigger implications of this strategy, and how, although effective in facilitating uptake of contraceptive services, engaging religious leaders could reinforce existing power dynamics and potentially compromise women’s autonomy and decision making, especially when it comes to realising their reproductive intentions. We also worry about the continued emphasis on contraceptive uptake as the most important indicator in the global family planning community, and finally encourage the move from family planning as a siloed issue in reproductive health, to one shaped by deeper social, economic, and cultural factors.  

Roe v Wade
24 June 2023

One year post-Roe, Africa finds itself at a critical juncture for reproductive rights

On 24 June 2022, the US Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade in a landmark ruling that removed the constitutional right to abortion. The repeal means the US joins just three other countries - Poland, Nicaragua and El Salvador - that have removed legal grounds for abortion since 1994. In contrast, 61 other countries have liberalized abortion laws - some of which came in direct response to the repeal of Roe v Wade. While we grapple with providing safe abortion care in these uncertain times, we are reminded that countries like the US, which have historically set the global abortion agenda, are no longer the right or the only leaders. In Africa, we find ourselves at a critical juncture. Amidst these challenges, there have been significant triumphs that inspire hope for a future where reproductive justice is upheld. For example, one month after the US ruling last year, Sierra Leone approved a draft law to decriminalize abortion, in a monumental step towards the repeal of its colonial-era laws. Benin has also enacted one of the most progressive abortion laws in Africa, demonstrating the potential for change even in the face of adversity. In Kenya, the High Court ruled that safe abortion is a fundamental right, and that arbitrary arrests and prosecution for seeking or offering such services are completely illegal.