The time is now for developing countries, donors, the private sector, and civil society to come together to help the world’s poorest women.
On World Population Day, 11th July 2012, the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hosted the ground breaking London Summit on Family Planning. The summit called for unprecedented international political commitment and resources to transform the lives of millions of women and girls. The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood welcomed this key opportunity to promote the positive impact of comprehensive family planning services to empower women and save lives.
White Ribbon Alliance called on governments to commit to Family Planning and they listened! During the London Summit on Family Planning, governments made historic commitments to increase access to life-saving family planning services for the
120 million women who are currently in need.
What does increased access to family planning do?
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CITIZEN’S VOICE VIDEO BLOGS
White Ribbon Alliance members will be covering this historic Summit through our Citizen’s Voice video blog, where we will be bringing you interviews with key delegates and spokespeople behind the scenes in the lead up to the Summit and will also be available via the White Ribbon Alliance YouTube Channel.
In many parts of the world, becoming a mother is not a matter of choice for a woman. A staggering 215 million women who wish to avoid or postpone pregnancy are not using any method of contraception. Frequent pregnancies closely spaced put women at risk of pregnancy complications that can lead to death. Healthy timing, spacing and number of pregnancies are essential to good outcomes. But many women don't know about family planning, can't afford it or are prevented from using it due to socio-cultural, gender or religious restrictions.i
Meeting the unmet needs of women for family planning could reduce unintended pregnancies by 53 million per year.ii This would in turn reduce the number of unsafe abortions, and the number of high- risk pregnancies.
Poor and marginalized women, particularly women living in rural areas, face significant challenges accessing family planning services. Young women also face many unique barriers as they can be inhibited from seeking family planning services by stigma, negative staff attitudes and, in some countries, they may be barred from using public reproductive health services, especially if they are unmarried.
But the good news is that the uptake of family planning is increasing in many regions - with demand growing in many more. Meeting the need for family planning would be a powerful way to improve the lives and health of women and their children, and their opportunities to participate in the development of their countries.
In many cases it is midwives who are responsible for providing health education, advising on reproductive health care and distributing family planning materials. The White Ribbon Alliance is campaigning for many more health workers, especially midwives, to be better trained and employed, and has recently introduced a focus on ‘respectful maternity care' which encourages women to seek out health care services where they will not face stigma or abuse.
What Are We Doing
- WRA is committed to working in partnerships at the global and national levels to position safe motherhood in broader advocacy efforts to champion the rights of girls and women. This includes working to promote the positive impact of comprehensive family planning services on saving women and children's lives.
- Promoting the positive impact of family planning has long been a priority for our National Alliances. WRA India is concerned that family planning has dropped off the Indian Government's political and policy agenda and have made it a key advocacy focus for 2012. WRA Nigeria is developing evidence to support the integration of family planning into maternal health services. WRA Kenya and the wife of the Prime Minister, Ida Odinga, are working with the media to publicize the need for broad access to family planning. WRA Indonesia and the government agency for Family Planning have conducted widespread community education campaigns to increase the uptake of family planning.
WRA Rwanda partners with Media Houses on Family Planning
WRA Rwanda and Rwanda's leading newspaper, The New Times, marked the world's population reaching seven billion by highlighting family planning in their weekly magazine. The publication included an interview with UNFPA's country representative, as well as articles examining religion and family planning, women's empowerment and the environmental and economic challenges of population growth. WRA also hosted a media workshop to support and encourage the media houses to inform the public about the benefits of safe motherhood care and family planning.
|Atlas of Birth
|Stories of Mothers Lost & Saved
- A Step to Deliver on Family Planning: Community Based Access to Injectable Contraceptives
As a result of advocacy efforts by White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria and FHI360, Nigeria's National Council of Health approves a task sharing policy that will allow community health extension workers to provide injectable contraceptives in communities.
- Nigerian Government commits to family planning. Will they deliver?
One week after the Government of Nigeria committed to increase family planning services, the National Council on Health is now meeting to discuss a policy that could help to make this commitment a reality. The item on the agenda is a task-sharing policy that would allow community health extension workers to provide family planning services at the community level.