Malawi President Joyce Banda is among the global leaders who will underscore the urgency of ensuring the availability of family planning services for everyone who wants them at the third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP 2013) in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia next month.
According to a press statement issued by New York-based Global Health Strategies, new commitments to expand contraceptive access and options will be announced at the conference, which will be the largest meeting on family planning to date, bringing thousands of political leaders, experts, researchers and advocates on 12 to15 November.
Other scheduled speakers at the conference include Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates and Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Organised around the theme ‘Full Access, Full Choice’, ICFP 2013 will call attention to the wide-ranging benefits of helping people plan their families—including improved maternal, newborn and child health, increased educational attainment and greater economic opportunity. The conference will also highlight national and global efforts to provide everyone with voluntary family planning information, services and methods that meet their needs.
Currently, 26 percent of women in Malawi have an unmet need for family planning, which refers to the number of women who do not want to get pregnant but lack access to modern contraceptives, information and services. According to UNFPA, fulfilling the unmet need for modern family planning would reduce the number of pregnancy-related deaths by 48 000 in sub-Saharan Africa and 79 000 globally.
ICFP 2013 will build on the momentum of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, at which the Malawi Government pledged to raise the country’s contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from 46 percent to 60 percent by 2020 “with a focused increase on those aged 15 to 24 years,”; to create a budget line on family planning, which has already been honoured, and also to approve the National Population Policy (NPP) which has since been launched.
President Joyce Banda says Malawi is working diligently to ensure people have the services and information they need and deserve.
“Many partners have a role to play in expanding family planning access, but success ultimately depends on the sustained commitment of national leaders. We are grateful to all who are supporting us to achieve that goal,” said Banda.
Gates said access to family planning information and contraceptives empower women to plan their families, get a better education, and provide a healthier future for their children.
“Women and girls everywhere want the opportunity to reach their full potential,” she said.
ICFP 2013 follows the inaugural ICFP in Kampala, Uganda, in 2009 and ICFP 2011 in Dakar, Senegal. It is jointly organised by the Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
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