Written by Naftali Mwaura
Global leaders and prominent health advocates will converge in the Ethiopian Capital, Addis Ababa from November 12-15 to renew their commitment towards universal access to family planning services among women of child bearing age.
The 3rd International Conference on Family Planning will be attended by Malawian President, Joyce Banda, Thai Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra and the Co-chair, Bill& Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates.
Also in attendance will be the Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Babatunde Osoti Mehin, the Chair, African Union, Nkosazana Zuma and the Ethiopian Minister for Health, Kesete birhan Admasu.
“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 to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 12-15 November 2013,” read a statement from New York based, Global Health Strategies.
Global leaders and a galaxy of health champions will press the case for expanded family planning services to improve maternal, newborn and child health and accelerate sustainable development.
The theme of the Addis Family Planning Conference” Full access, full choice” captures an emerging consensus among governments, donors and charities on the need to prioritize family planning in a post 2015 development vision.
“Women and girls everywhere want the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Melinda Gates. “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.”
Access to family planning commodities remains a pipe dream in the developing world where 222 million women are grappling with unwanted pregnancies due to lack of access to these critical devices.
The Addis Family Planning conference will urge governments, philanthropies and donors to honour far-reaching commitments they made at the 2012 Family Planning Conference in London.
At the London Conference, International donors, private sector, civil society and emerging economies resolved to ensure 120 million women have access to family planning services by 2020.
“Many partners have a role to play in expanding family planning access, but success ultimately depends on the sustained commitment of national leaders,” said President Joyce Banda. “Malawi is working diligently so our people have the services and information they need and deserve. We are grateful to all who are supporting us to achieve that goal.”
The topics for discussion at the Addis Conference include the role of political leadership to expand access to family planning services, involvement of female champions to advocate for investments in birth control programs, effective teenage pregnancy prevention programs and best practices to expand access to contraceptives to millions of women globally.