Mapping South-South Cooperation in the Arab States

Arab States

Partners in Population and Development in Tunisia

Tuesday, 27 October 2015 22:31 Written by 
  • Location(s): Tunisia
  • Type(s): Solution
  • Theme(s): Health
  • SDG(s): 3. Good health and wellbeing
  • Locations in the Arab States: Tunisia
  • Types in the Arab States: Solution
  • Themes in the Arab States: Health
  • SDGs in the Arab States: 3. Good health and wellbeing

Success of the Tunisian experience in terms of population, family planning and reproduction health is the output of a remarkably synchronized correlation between various political, legislative and socio-cultural factors: promulgation of the Personal Status Code in 1956, educational reform providing for free and equal access to education for boys and girls, granting women the juridical and social identity breaking with the single procreation and maternity role assigned to them that far ... etc. 

The South-South cooperation in terms of population and development has become since ICPD in 1994 and the 2000 Millennium Summit an essential strategic choice for countries of the South with experiences to share and for other countries willing to take profit of them in order to promote partnerships and improve socio-sanitary development programs. The creation of an inter-governmental organization to boost partnerships in the fields of population and development, the South-South Initiative largely contributed to institutionalizing cooperation between countries of the South and raised the interest of Northern countries and donor agencies to invest 

Tunisia, which was appointed in 1994 by UNFPA as a Center for Excellence in terms of population for Africa and the Arab World launched through ONFP several pilot initiatives to promote reproduction healthcare and family planning programs in neighboring countries. 

One of the most and unique example of the triangular cooperation project between Tunisia, France and Niger carried out in the sanitary district of Kollo near Niamey, reflects the success of this trilogy: transfer of the Tunisian experience, adaptation of a mobile strategy to the local context of Niger and the French technical and financial support. Making use of ONFP`s technical skills and expertise, this process was carefully duplicated by the World Bank in Chad, by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation in Mauritania and in Mali, by UNFPA in Djibouti as well as in several other Francophone African countries. 

Though it brings practical and rapid solutions to emerging questions related to health in general and reproductive healthcare in particular, Tunisia through its ONFP experts supported the governmental institution under the authority of the Nigerien Ministry of Public Health responsible for the Reproductive health -RH programme. To improve the RH/FP effectiveness, the Nigerien government entered into a South-South and triangular cooperation agreement with Tunisia and the French government. 

This approach through technical support set up a new strategy and a new approach in service provision, IEC (Information-Education-Communication), and management of activities: 

  1. Strengthening services through upgrading of equipment and the competence of the personnel, support was also provided for itinerant consultations which included vaccinations and family planning.
  2. To bring the services closer to the populations, a network of four mobile teams was set up to cater for the areas beyond the l5 km radius.
  3. Personalized education was brought closer to the different targets
  4. Maintaining religious proximity to combat impediments of a religious nature. 

The project achieved the following: 

47.7 percent in prenatal consultations; 21 percent in contraception prevalence & 8.5 percent in postnatal consultations. 100 percent of the health workers were trained and equipped and 60 percent of the population retained a good knowledge of RH and FP. 

  1. Tunisia experienced conditions in the 1960-1970`s similar to those of present-day Niger, and had the same socio-demographic indicators.
  2. The application of lessons learnt from a similar experience in Tunisia led in turn to perfect complementarities between the services provided by Tunisia and the needs to be addressed in the Kollo district. By applying the tried-and-tested model of u2018mobile clinics`, designating technical experts coming from similar rural working conditions, involving the community from the early stage, and incorporating religious and cultural leaders fully into the program, the project made full use of its South-South comparative advantage.
  3. Another exemplary aspect of the project was the scaling up of the cooperation to other regions, and the adoption, by the country, of a population policy that was in line with the national plan for reproductive health.
  4. The personnel involved throughout the project were motivated, enthusiastic and u2018owned` the project and this contributed greatly to its success.
  5. The project also mobilized other sponsors; UNICEF in particular supported the project through male nurses to carry out vaccinations, extending an opportunity for increased national ownership. The experience of the Kollo project has already been replicated in Chad and Mauritania, which have initiated a mobile strategy programme for RH/FP service delivery, with financial support from the World Bank and the Spanish Cooperation Agency. In both cases, the technical assistance was provided by the Tunisian Board of Family Planning. 

Budget: The budget require for similar partnership is US$ 50,000 

Contact details: 
Tunisia Address: National Office for the Family and population/ Centre International de Formation et de Recherche 
Dr Rym Esseghairi 
Tel: + 216 71 701555 + 216 98 46215 
Fax: + 216 71 704 599

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