Sustained political support urged for family planning

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Participants at the ongoing third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) here have underscored the importance of sustained political will to ensure increased access to family planning information and tools.

“It is the strong show of commitment by world leaders that leads all of us to believe this is a real turning point for accelerating progress on family planning,” PANA quoted Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as telling participants from more than 100 countries, who are attending the week-long conference, which has the theme 'Full Access, Full Choice'.

The ICFP is the largest-ever meeting focused on expanding access to family planning and contraception as a core pillar of saving and improving women’s and girls’ lives.

Globally, it is estimated that more than 220 million women want to plan their families but do not have access to modern contraceptive methods that meet their needs.

However, unlike in other African countries, Ethiopia has over the past few years doubled the percentage of women using contraceptives, from 15% in 2005 to 29% in 2011.

In addition, it has also pledged to double that percentage again to 66% by 2015. The success story informed the choice of Ethiopia as the host of the conference.

Addressing the participants  through videoconferencing, Malawi President Joyce Banda said: “Family planning is not merely a health issue, it is also a development issue and a human rights issue.

''Scaling up family planning services is one of the tools that can lead to greater achievements in social and economic development.”

For her part, African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the continent must talk about family planning in the context of investing in the people, while the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, said Family Planning begins with human rights and gender equality.

ICFP 2013 is highlighting progress in expanding family planning access and choice since the July 2012 London conferences on Family Planning.

At that conference, the global community pledged to reach an additional 120 million women with family planning information and services by 2020.

Commitments made at the London meeting included new financial resources; improved supply and delivery systems; investments in contraceptive research and policy changes such as laws that protect the health and well-being of women and girls.
-0- PANA SB/SEG 13Nov2013

13 november 2013 10:51:15

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