Blog: Thanzi PhD Researcher heading for fieldwork in Zambia
IGDC PhD student, Lilian Saka, heads to Zambia to start her fieldwork, analysing the role of regional politics in reproductive health policy in Africa.
By Lilian Saka
My research is analysing the role of regional politics in reproductive health policy in Africa. I am studying the extent to which the African Union’s regional SRH policy influences priority-setting and resource allocating for reproductive health service delivery at country level.
My research puzzle is that the African Union has demonstrated commitment to addressing reproductive health issues on the continent and they have produced, adopted and ratified progressive policies to this effect which do not get adequately implemented at member state level. Why is this the case? Why is it that regional political decisions do not effectively trickle down to country-level decision-making for priority-setting and resource allocation? Is it the nature of African regionalism that makes it difficult? Do institutionalised gender issues within the AU also play a role?
I have been reviewing the literature on this subject and studying how regionalism interacts with social policy, as well as how the underlying institutional gender affects policy decisions and policy outcomes both at regional and country levels on the African continent. I have also conducted online interviews with some AUC members of staff and AU-affiliated organisations to get an insight on the AU reproductive health policy response.
I am currently heading out to Zambia for my case study fieldwork. The case study will enable me to get insights on how the regional level links with the country level, and if at all regional political decisions have any effect at country, to what extent and the reasons behind that situation. The case study will be specific to Zambia, but the regional scope provides a framework that can be applied to any case study country in sub-saharan Africa to get deeper insights into the particular country’s SRH policy and service delivery as it relates to the AU.
I will be in Zambia for four months (November 2020 - March 2021), and during this time, I will interview the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development, SRH service users, non-governmental organisations working on SRH, donor agencies, the UN, the parliamentary committee on reproductive health, AU organs or affiliates based in Lusaka.