Daily Digests: Postpartum Family Planning Global Meeting

From June 7-11, FP2020, in technical partnership with Jhpiego, hosted 175 participants from 20 countries to accelerate efforts on the implementation of postpartum family planning (PPFP).  Forty presenters from around the world discussed state-of-the-art technical knowledge and programming experience in PPFP. Interactive learning sessions, small working groups and country-specific action plans for PPFP were developed over the course of the week.

Catch up on the action with FP2020’s daily digests, which highlight key moments, fast facts and resources:

The rights way forward for international family planning programmes

Sadly, it often takes a heartbreaking human tragedy, such as the recent sterilization deaths of more than a dozen women in India, to remind us of a principle that simply cannot be emphasized enough: each and every family planning programme must have human rights as its anchor and guiding light. Every woman, regardless of her socio-economic status and where she lives, should have the right to access high quality medical care and a method of contraception that she wants and accepts voluntarily. But for hundreds of millions of women and girls around the world— reality falls far short of the ideal.

Without access to modern methods of contraception, women are often consigned to a cycle of repeat pregnancies which have a debilitating effect on their health over time. Many resort to unsafe abortion, which costs thousands of lives annually. Young girls fall pregnant before their bodies can cope physically, placing their lives at risk; and early motherhood also prevents many girls from accessing education, which puts them and their families on the path to a life of poverty and deprivation.

That is why our hope is that by the end of this decade, Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), a global partnership established after the ground-breaking London Summit on Family Planning in 2012, which is dedicated to improving access to voluntary family planning information and services, will have brought modern contraception within reach of an additional 120 million women and girls.

Those of us who work in family planning understand very well that quotas and targets are anathema to any rights-based programme. So let us be clear: reaching 120 million women and girls with voluntary access to contraception is not a quota and it is by no means a target. The numeric goal is a benchmark of progress, but it is surpassed in importance by the narrative we aspire to shape. Family planning is ultimately about making sure that every woman and every girl has the right, and the means, to take charge of her own life—to grow, to thrive, and to plan the family she wants.

For the past year, FP2020 has been working with global partners to develop the Rights and Empowerment Principles for Family Planning. Informed by human rights principles, the Statement proposes illustrative examples for how to operationalize rights in the areas of policy and programming, measurement and markets. These principles are important to ensure that all family planning programmes, from global initiatives to community-based projects, keep human rights and the dignity and empowerment of women and girls at their very core. 

Rights-based family planning programmes require a standard of medical care. For some, this will involve re-imagining the approach to family planning – by treating contraception as part of an individual’s decision and overall health care. A woman who wants to delay or prevent pregnancy shouldbe able to choose freely from a variety of contraceptive methods—pills, IUDs, implants, injectables, condoms and other options—so she can make a decision about what fits best with her current life stage and reproductive plans. Equally important is the premise that she receive care from medical personnel that are qualified and trained to provide family planning counsel, supplies and services.

Every country committed to working with FP2020 commits itself to embracing a rights-based approach to serve its citizens. But intentions, no matter how good, simply aren’t enough. Putting human rights at the centre—and making sure they stay there—must be a collective public effort. We need everyone involved and on the same page: government officials, healthcare workers, civil society advocates and the private sector. Rights violations must be brought to light and addressed whenever and wherever they occur. Open discussions must be held so we can understand how and why violations take place, and more importantly, how they can be prevented. Programmes must be specifically designed and implemented to respect, protect, fulfil and advance rights.

There is an urgent need for constructive dialogue to establish a future where all women and girls have the freedom to decide for themselves whether and when to have children. The news is promising on this front – our partners have made significant progress in ensuring women’s rights remain at the centre of family planning programmes. The three newest country governments that have so far pledged to achieve FP2020’s vision – Burundi, Cameroon and Togo – must embrace the rights based approach to family planning and frame the development and implementation of their strategic plans using these principles, putting women and girls’ rights at the heart of their service delivery models.

On Human Rights Day this week, and over the course of the days ahead, we shall celebrate the achievements of partners throughout the world in advancing women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment through expanding access to family planning. It is the work of governments, donors, civil society and advocates that has brought the advances we have seen in the past years. Our work is far from over, but we have seen the ways that collaboration and commitment can make a difference for individual women and girls. And today we also celebrate the women and girls who are the heart of our movement: not as targets, but as partners, and as the most important agents of change in their lives and their communities. 

Elizabeth Schlachter is the interim executive director of Family Planning 2020 and Poonam Muttreja is executive director, Population Foundation of India and FP2020 reference group member. An edited version of this article appeared on Trust.org 


Every Woman, Every Child

Launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Summit in September 2010, Every Woman Every Child  is an unprecedented global movement that mobilizes and intensifies international and national action by governments, multilaterals, the private sector and civil society to address the major health challenges facing women and children around the world. The movement puts into action the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health, which presents a roadmap on how to enhance financing, strengthen policy and improve service on the ground for the most vulnerable women and children.

Every Woman Every Child provides a new opportunity to improve the health of hundreds of millions of women and children around the world, and in so doing, to improve the lives of all people. The health of women and children is critically important to almost every area of human development and progress, and directly impacts our success in achieving all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted by world leaders in 2000.

Research has conclusively demonstrated that the health of women and children is the cornerstone of public health. Healthy women and children create healthy societies. Healthy societies, in turn, are the foundation upon which nations build successful economies and create prosperity for their people. And prosperity, as we know, is essential to political stability and social harmony. 

Every Woman Every Child recognizes that all actors have an important role to play in improving women’s and children’s health. More than $40 billion was pledged at the 2010 launch, and numerous partners have made additional, and critical, financial, policy and service delivery commitments, but more help is needed. The Secretary-General is asking the international community for the additional commitments necessary to take Every Woman Every Child past the tipping point. This would mean saving the lives of 16 million women and children, preventing 33 million unwanted pregnancies, ending stunting in 88 million children, and protecting 120 million children from pneumonia by 2015.

This is an enormous and unprecedented undertaking. The stakes are high, and the cost of failure is great. But the rewards of success are greater still. They include a better life for all of us, and a healthy future for women and children everywhere.

Please explore these pages with the desire to ensure that every woman and every child have the same opportunities for health and life and ask yourself what you can do. – See more at: http://everywomaneverychild.org/about/what-is-every-woman-every-child#sthash.GQpJIl7q.dpuf

Why Uganda’s teenage girls could hold key to its prosperity

GOMBA, UGANDA —Farming is not the future that Prossy Nakalema envisioned for herself when she graduated from high school earlier this year – an accomplishment that remains more extraordinary than mundane for girls in this East African country.



A stylish 18-year-old whose woven braids match her pink-and-black outfit, Ms. Nakalema dreams of going to college, getting a good job, and putting off what most of the young women around her accept as the normal future: a string of babies to tend to by one’s mid-twenties.

KP Assembly fails to pass Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2014

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly failed to pass Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Marriage Restraint Bill 2014 after passage of two years while the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey states that the ratio of child marriages in the province is as high as 74 per cent. The report said that seven per cent of Pakistan population around ten million consisted of girls between the age of 15 to 19 years among which 15 per cent (1.5 million) were married while 21 per cent of girls were married before the age of 18 in Pakistan. Pakistan is ranked sixth among the nations where around 600,000 child marriages take place every year before the girls attain the age of 15 years while adolescent birth rate is 51 per cent women while in KP the ratio of adolescent birth is 57 per cent. Talking to Daily Times Deputy Director Reproductive Health Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that Marriage Restraint Act 1929 set the minimum legal age of marriage for girls is 16 years. This was also not a suitable age for marriage for girls, he maintained, adding that for the last two years the Child restraints bill 2014 was not passed from KP assembly as other provinces of the country has passed their bills. He further said that the complication of early marriage are many as in the early age pregnancy is difficult for young girls as many girls growing and their bodies needs the nutrients that are often scarce in poor households for this growth. Dr. Saeed Gul added that because of the early marriages young girls were not using contraception method for family planning, while only 15% married women were using contraceptive method for family planning in KP.

Comprehensive Mechanism to Tackle Maternal Issues Launched

In an effort to address the issues of maternal deaths in the country, a Rapid Response Mechanism Project aimed at strengthening community involvement on sexual reproductive health service known as family planning (FP2020) has been officially launched in Monrovia. According to a statement, the Director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Joseph L. Kerkula who served as Chief Launcher, underscored the need for a comprehensive approach in addressing the maternal and new born babies’ issues in Liberia. The statement pointed out that Dr. Kerkula stressed on the need for the availability of resources and human capacity building on how to tackle pre-natal problems in the country.

He said though there are challenges, the Government and its partners should exert efforts in addressing the material rate and mortality in Liberia. The release stated that the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL), Mitta Kiawu Cojolo, speaking earlier, disclosed that the maternal mortality rate was high from 2007 to 2010 between 994 to 1,072/100,000 live births. She also revealed that 1.9% of the population has been diagnosed with the HIV infection and Aids. Due to the demand for Sexual reproductive Health and Rights Services across the country, Madam Cojolo said, PPAL’s strategy plan 2016-2019 will leverage on restricted projects income to attain maximum, coverage of sexual and reproductive health services, where there are growing demands for SRH/R services especially in the South-eastern and northern regions where the roads are deplorable and largely inaccessible.

Families encouraged to practice family planning

Families in North Malaita have been encouraged to practice family planning. Community Health Nursing Consultant Malu’u Lawrence Irobaea made the call during the Malaita Day celebrations in North Malaita yesterday. Malu’u Stringer Lensley Kwaimani reports, the consultant says an above average of 1,089 new-born babies is delivered in the region from the communities of Arawa to Ata’a this year. The nursing consultant warns, the absence of family planning tantamount to risking family health. “If families are reluctant to plan their families they will fall into problems that can be avoided once we seek assistance from health authorities to help us with plans. Consultant Irobaea said they are ready and available to provide health advice to families who may seek support and help from them.

Family planning not discouraging child bearing, but…

Oyo State team leader of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI), Mrs. Stella Akinso on Thursday reinstated that family planning was “not to discourage child bearing” but to sensitize women about family planning methods. The NURHI team leader stated this while speaking at the flag off of the visibility study on family planning in Lagelu local government area of Oyo State. Mrs. Akinso explained that by embracing family planning methods, nursing mothers and women in general will be in a better position to benefits from planning like child spacing methods, awareness and counseling. She stressed further that the idea of family planning was “not to discourage child bearing” but to sensitize women about family planning methods where they will be free from unforeseen challenges. Emphasizing that NURHI in its campaigns in Oyo State is targeting over 1 million in the next 3 years on family planning methods, counseling and awareness, she disclosed that its phase one were held in five local government areas of Ibadan metropolis with the phase two starting Wednesday at Akinyele local government area of the state, and expected to cover ten councils so as to make the campaigns to extend to fifteen local governments in Oyo State.

NGO takes campaign on family planning to media

The Nigerian Government has been called upon to step up efforts towards committing more funds to the health sector so as to enable primary health care services in the country meet up with the current global health care challenges. This was one of the issues raised at the one-day advocacy and awareness programme for media practitioners on the dangers confronting the country due to uncontrolled population explosion…Organized by the Family Planning Advocacy Working Group, the Forum raised concern over the inability of the States and Federal Governments to providing adequate awareness on the issues of family planning at the grass root levels, hence the need to engage media practitioners in the campaign becomes imperative. The forum also stressed the need for the media practitioners, Non-Governmental Organizations and other agencies of government to promote family planning and disabuse the minds of the general public over the misconceptions that it has cultural and religious tendencies. Throwing more light on the blue print of the organization, the Media Officer of Family Planning Advocacy Working Group, Wika Gofen, and the Chairman, Dr. Josiah Mutihir, said it intends to ensure that in the next 10 years, Plateau State maintains a stable family planning management. They said: “The average woman in Plateau has 5.4 children in her life time. Thirteen per cent of girls being childbearing between the ages of 15 and 19 use any method of contraceptives. “Eighty-two per cent of women have heard of family planning messages on the radio, television or any other media source, representing a missed opportunity for programming.

13 striking photos that show where women give birth in rural Uganda

Pregnant women in rural Uganda often live quite far from the nearest health center — and lack access to transportation that can easily get them to a clinic when they’re ready to deliver a child.

And so, when they find themselves in labor, these women usually end up having to walk to the nearest clinic to seek medical attention. Sometimes, they even give birth on the walk over.

“By the time they reach the health center, they have delivered because of the long distance,” Kafuko Dorothy, a midwife in rural Uganda, told INSIDER. Those babies are classified as “BBA,” or born before arrival, she explained.

Kafuko is one of two midwives who run Lugasa HC III, a health center located in the Bbaale subdistrict of Kayunga, in central Uganda. 

Each day, the two midwives handle eight to 10 births, and see an average of 22 additional patients for family planning and prenatal care services. Many of the patients have to walk up to 30 km (18.6 miles) to reach the health center, Kafuko said.

Men and Contraception: A Necessary Disruption of the Status Quo

The father of five lives with his wife Leah and their children in Kayole, a poor section of Nairobi, Kenya. Leah had suffered complications with each of her five pregnancies, and went on the pill after the couple’s youngest child was born. But she worried constantly about missing a dose.

Then James had a breakthrough realization.

“For too long, I assumed this problem was hers and hers alone,” he says. “But then I realized I could take on the burden myself.” James opted to get a vasectomy through Tupange, a family planning program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in partnership with Jhpiego and the government of Kenya. Tupange means “let’s plan” in Kiswahili, and the program is dedicated to making modern contraceptive methods available to the urban poor to improve maternal and newborn survival and empower couples and youth to plan their families and their lives.

For James and Leah, a vasectomy was the perfect choice. They were so happy with the results—and with the impact of the vasectomy on their family and their marriage—that they now work with Tupange to educate others about the benefits of voluntary male sterilization.

Sustainable Development in Africa Will Not Be Achieved Without Women’s Full Participation

Throughout the world, UNFPA has been working to change the narrative about the role of women. UNFPA’s message has been that the roles that men and women play in society are not biologically determined, but socially constructed. This means that these roles are man-made and can be changed when circumstances call for it. A lack of education severely restricts a woman’s access to information and opportunities. Conversely, increasing women’s and girls’ educational attainment benefits both individuals and future generations. Higher levels of women’s education are strongly associated with lower infant mortality and lower fertility, as well as better outcomes for their children. There is need to give women power over their own bodies; the power to decide who and when to marry, how many children to give birth to and when to do so, the power to stay in school and the opportunity to find employment. When a woman can effectively plan her family, she can plan the rest of her life. Protecting and promoting her reproductive rights – including the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of her children – is essential to ensuring her freedom to participate more fully and equally in society. In its effort to change mindsets and include women as equal partners at the social and political table, UNFPA Kenya has become a key voice in the national discourse, engaging people across both the public and private sectors and mobilising for more resources to be invested in broad gender equality programmes.

200 girls undergo sexual reproductive health education

The Department of Gender under the auspices of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has organized a programme on sexual reproductive health, teenage pregnancy and child marriage for adolescent girls in Ho. The two-day regional camp which discussed and work out solutions for the prevention and elimination of human rights abuses brought together over 200 young girls from four districts in the Volta region. Addressing the girls, Ms. Comfort Ablometi, Volta Regional Director, Department of Gender, stressed the need to create conducive environments for adolescent girls to know their rights, noting that teenage pregnancy was on the increase in the reigion.

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