The United Nations Population Fund- (UNFPA) Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Ms. Argentina Matavel Piccin, on Friday, 10 March 2023, concluded a week-long working visit to Guinea-Bissau where she met with key development partners and senior government officials including H.E Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau Nuno Gomes Nabian, the Minister of Public Health Dr Dionísio Cumba and the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports Dr. Augusto Gomes.
Accompanied by the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports, Dr. Augusto Gomes and other government officials, Ms. Matavel Piccin visited the eastern city of Bafatá and interacted with youth, traditional and religious leaders and later participated in the opening of an all-inclusive and accessible Youth Multipurpose Centre, built by the Government of Guinea-Bissau and the International Organisation for Migration and fully equipped by UNFPA.
Matavel Piccin also had a conversation with CSOs and participated in a multi-disciplinary panel focused on this year’s theme of the Commission on status of Women: ‘DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.’
She also had high-level discussions with state officials on strengthening UNFPA’s partnership with the Government of Guinea-Bissau to accelerate efforts towards ending preventable maternal health, unmet need for family planning and empowering women and young people.
Welcoming the Regional Director, Prime Minister, Eng. Nuno Gomes Nabian: “We are pleased as a Government to welcome a senior staff from an organization such as UNFPA who are contributing to the development of this [Guinea-Bissau] nation.”
Minister of Public Health, Dr. Dionisio Cumba said the Government of Guinea-Bissau would continue working with partners in preventable maternal deaths, reducing unmet need for family planning and supporting young people to reach their goals potential. The visit by the Regional Director, he said, was, therefore an opportunity to see its [UNFPA] interventions and to discuss about new pathways of sustaining the gains we have made. “Thank you for the support and effort from UNFPA leading to zero maternal deaths recorded in 2022 at the Buba Health Centre in a region that used to register persistently the highest number of maternal deaths,” minister Cumba said.
The visit to the West African nation came at a time when a recently launched UN report on the Trends in Maternal Mortality 2000-2020 shows that the region, in the last two decades, only reduced its Maternal Mortality Ratio by an average of 21.5%, with Guinea-Bissau being one of six countries in the region, to have reduced maternal mortality nearly half at the rate indicator of 40-47%. The others are Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Gambia.
Reflecting on her visit, Ms. Matavel Piccin said: “UNFPA commits to work alongside Government and partners in Guinea Bissau to urgently address the very high maternal mortality ratio.”