The world reached a population milestone in October, but “[i]n the many discussions that have sprung up around the seven billion benchmark — all of them important and illuminating — I don’t hear enough about our world’s most vulnerable: our youth,” Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, writes in this Huffington Post opinion piece. “Nearly half of the world’s seven billion inhabitants is under the age of 25,” she notes, adding “when it comes to sexual and reproductive health, young women and girls around the world face tremendous challenges — which demand tremendous solutions.”
Family Planning & Reproductive Health
In this post on Management Sciences for Health’s (MSH) “Global Health Impact” blog, MSH President and CEO Jonathan Quick discusses how investing in family planning services and integrating those services into other health care initiatives can save money over the long term and strengthen health systems. “Indeed, strengthening health systems is…
“Thousands gathered in Senegal [Tuesday] for the opening of the second International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), the largest meeting of its kind, which will run until December 2, 2011,” the Foreign Policy Association blog reports (Clifford, 11/29). The meeting “will aim to push forward an agenda for broad family planning access and support around the world,” according to the Accra Mail (11/29). “The historic four-day conference features more than 140 plenaries, sessions and panels that will share latest research, proven strategies, and lessons learned in addressing the massive need for contraception worldwide,” the Foreign Policy Association blog writes, adding, “Participants will seek to galvanize greater political and financial support, hold governments accountable for their commitments, and champion contraceptive innovation and access” (11/29).
“Although advances in vaccines, nutrition and family health have dramatically reduced the number of child deaths in the past 50 years, nearly eight million children younger than five still die every year,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in this CNN opinion piece. She adds, “To me, this number is unacceptable, because most of these deaths could be avoided” by providing antibiotics, sterile medical supplies, or education on breastfeeding, as well by improving access to nutrient-rich foods and effective contraceptives.
A post in PSI’s “Healthy Lives” blog features a video message from Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to the attendees of the 2011 International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. According to the blog, “She expresses how family planning is one of the best ways to…
The U.S. Department of State has posted on its website a letter from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “delivered by the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal to the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar.” She writes, “With 53 million unintended pregnancies in the developing world each year, and 215 million women…
The December issue of the WHO Bulletin features an editorial on effective aid in complex settings; a public health round-up; an article on the “One World” approach to global health; a research paper on U.S. aid policy and induced abortion in sub-Saharan Africa; and a policy article on lay health worker attrition (December 2011).
The 2nd International Conference on Family Planning ended on Friday in Dakar, Senegal, Ghana Business News reports, noting that more than 2,200 people attended the conference to “shar[e] research, best practices, and progress on national strategies to deliver family planning services, with the ultimate goal being universal access to family planning.” The news service notes that UNFPA requested an “acceleration in funding for [family planning] activities to make decisive progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goal 5” (12/3). In related news, the Guardian examines family planning in Dakar, which was chosen to host the conference “because this is what one conference participant called ‘the wild, wild west of family planning,'” according to the newspaper (Boseley, 12/2).
“[W]ith studies suggesting that 215 million women around the world want — but cannot get — effective contraception, making sure birth control methods are available to those who want them could be one of the cheapest, fastest and most effective ways of addressing climate change, experts said at the U.N. climate conference in Durban” this week, AlertNet reports. “But getting U.N. climate negotiators to even mention the controversial issue is nearly as difficult as getting them to agree on a long-delayed new global climate treaty,” the news agency adds.
“Unwanted babies and unsafe abortion are major problems in the developing world, yet funding for contraception is limited because of attitudes to sex and abortion in donor countries,” the Guardian’s Sarah Boseley writes in her “Global Health Blog.” She reflects on her time spent in Dakar, Senegal, last week for the 2nd International Conference on Family Planning, and writes that, “in francophone Africa …, only 10 percent of women have access to what are called modern methods of family planning,” such as hormonal contraceptive injections or pills.