The Pacific Disability Forum (DPF) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Wednesday this week to ensure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of people living with a disability are prioritised.

Vanuatu as a member of DPF could benefit from the partnership and that is through the Vanuatu Disability and Promotion Advocacy Association (VDPAA) in Vanuatu.

Speaking to Daily Post in Suva this week PDF CEO, Mr. Setareki Macanawai said Vanuatu is a member of PDF and it is important that VDPAA works closely with IPPF in Vanuatu to implement the developments.

“We are regional organization supporting national efforts.

“Our commitment will always about making the life of the people with disabilities on the ground better through the shared support,” he said.

The MoU signed this week is a new pathway for IPPF and PDF to work together to ensure that IPPF clinical services, awareness raising activities, advocacy and humanitarian responses are disability-friendly and inclusive of people living with disabilities. Additionally, IPPF will support PDF with technical knowledge and assistance on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Drawing on IPPF’s and PDF’s complementary skills, they will work both regionally and nationally, leveraging their broad networks of locally owned IPPF Member Associations and Disabled Persons’ Organisations on the ground.

An estimated 17% of people in the Pacific have some form of disability, people living with disabilities are often excluded from education and employment and their sexuality is rarely acknowledged, which highly constrains their ability and rights. Furthermore, people living with disabilities, particularly women and girls, are more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence.

IPPF is a global, non-government organisation that consists of 134 Member Associations working across 145 countries, with another 26 partners working in 21 countries. Our vision is for all people to be free to make choices about their sexuality and well-being, in a world free of discrimination.

IPPF Director Programme and Operations, Karen Hill, says the partnership is important for both organization given their commitments to leaving no one behind.

“And that’s certainly our priority within our Pacific strategy.

“So we are completely committed to implementing our strategy,” she said.

The partnership between DPF and IPPF is a renewed development and the two organisation are committed to carry out responsibilities as outlined in the time-frame.