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2nd International Conference On Family Planning Concludes in Senegal

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).

December Issue Of WHO Bulletin Available Online

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).

‘Simple Solutions’ Available To Improve Family Health

“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.

Thousands Gather In Senegal For Second International Conference On Family Planning

“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).

Strengthening Family Planning Services Through Investment, Integration

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…

‘Fresh Efforts’ Needed To Understand, Deliver Family Planning In Order To Curb Birth Rates In Developing Countries

In this Financial Times opinion piece, journalist Andrew Jack examines the challenges of family planning in some poorer countries, where public health programs “risk adding to population pressures and inadvertently setting back development,” writing, “In a number of countries, notably in central and western Africa, health programs have contributed to cutting infant mortality rates, but birth rates have continued to remain stubbornly high. The unintended consequence is a fast-growing population that adds further pressure on poor families and fragile environments.”

Prioritizing The Family Planning Needs Of Young Women

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.”