It was Monica Kerrigan Senior Advisor in the FP2020 Secretariat hosted by United Nations Foundation that gave me a USB Flash Drive containing the FP2020 2014-15 Progress Report at a meeting that we both attended in Nairobi in November 2015 ahead of the GFF Learning Meeting. I made a gentle and of course verbal commitment that I will read the report and scribble few words focusing on key highlights. When I met her again on Thursday 14th January 2016 in Washington DC at a USAID convened meeting to harmonies framework for Civil Society Engagement, I quickly remember that I haven’t yet scribble the few lines. Writing today about the FP2020 Progress Report is equally important as we are just one week to the 4th International Conference on Family Planning that will be hosted in Nusa Dua, Indonesia 25–28 January 2016. The conference website has observed that “Indonesia’s national family planning initiatives doubled the contraceptive prevalence rate to nearly 60 percent between 1976 and 2002 and decreased the fertility rate by half. The country has quadrupled its budget allocation for family planning, from $65.9 million in 2006 to $263.7 million in 2014, which will enable better health worker training and the provision of free family planning services through the country’s new universal health care system.”
Coming back to the FP2020 Commitment to action 2014-2015, it is refreshing to note that “three years ago, we made a promise. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, we pledged to bring modern contraception within reach of an additional 120 million women and girls by the year 2020. As we approach the halfway point to 2020, we can see clearly how much we’ve accomplished together, how much is left to do, and whether we’re on track for our goal. Today, because of the work of FP2020’s partners around the world, more women and girls than ever before are using modern contraception. An unprecedented 290.6 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries are now able to decide for themselves whether and when to get pregnant, an increase of 24.4 million from the time of the London Summit. Nevertheless, our results aren’t measuring up to our ambition. We’ve reached 24.4 million women and girls with lifesaving contraception, but that’s 10 million fewer than we had hoped to reach by this time. If we continue at this rate, we risk missing our goal—and leaving millions of women and girls without the care and services they need and deserve.”
One of the “hopes’ for sustained health investment, as the report observed is that that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pledging to increase its financial commitment to family planning by 25% over the next three years. Melinda Gates Co-Chair Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has this to say “Our shared goal is ambitious—and it has to be. Family planning saves lives and unlocks the potential of women, their families and communities. But while we have made progress, the latest data show that we’re not yet meeting our goals. With five years to go, we have a window of opportunity to get back on track.”
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin Executive Director United Nations Population Fund and Dr. Chris Elias President of Global Development Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who are the co-chairs of the FP2020 Reference Group while writing a forward for the report observed that “the good news is that the time to rally as a community has never been better. This is a pivotal year in global development. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, the new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, and expanded global financing mechanisms for health, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to chart a course for the world we want. Universal access to family planning and contraceptive services is an essential part of that world. Now is the moment to build bridges to our partners across sectors.”
In concluding this write up, I have to make a passionate appeal to head of states especially in Africa where we are recording one of the highest burden of maternal and under-five deaths. The international community has created a sustained platform and has mobilize financial resources and technical support to help countries improve their contraceptive prevalence rates that have a direct bearing on women’s survival. It is desired that our leaders should match such kind gestures with allocating adequate funding in their yearly country budget for family planning and reproductive health commodities.
All comments to Dr Aminu Magashi Publisher Health Reporters (firstname.lastname@example.org)