The London Summit on Family Planning: Renewing Global Commitment to Contraceptive Access
Family planning is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent maternal, infant, and child mortality. Yet today more than 200 million women and girls in developing countries who wish to prevent, limit, or space pregnancies are not using a modern contraceptive method. In fact, in the world’s 69 poorest countries, the number of women with unmet need for contraception has increased in recent years, resulting in 80 million unintended pregnancies each year.
This Wednesday, July 11, family planning stakeholders from around the world will unite for the London Summit on Family Planning. The UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are partnering with UNFPA to host this gathering of leaders from national government, donors, civil society, the private sector, the research and development community, and others to renew and revitalize global commitment to ensuring the world’s women and girls, particularly those living in low-resource settings, have access to contraceptive information, services, and supplies.
Organizers hope the summit will “mobilize global policy, financing, commodity and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s 69 poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020.” Doing so will prevent a staggering 100 million unintended pregnancies, 50 million abortions, 200,000 pregnancy- and childbirth-related maternal deaths, and 3 million infant deaths.
View UNFPA's video on the benefits of investing in family planning and newborn health, titled Add It Up: Family Planning + Maternal and Newborn Care = Saved Lives
The estimated cost of sustaining the current level of contraceptive use in the 69 target countries for the next eight years is $10 billion USD; an extra $4.3 billion will be required to reach 120 million additional women in this time period. This is a sound investment: for every $1 USD invested in family planning services, an estimated $2-$6 is saved in government social sector costs including health, education, water, sanitation, natural resources, and social services, in sub-Saharan Africa, and up to $13 is saved in South Asia. This translates to healthier, wealthier, and more educated families, communities, and nations.
Financial commitments secured from the London Summit on Family Planning will support efforts to:
- Increase demand and support for family planning by removing barriers to access and use and promoting and scaling up high-impact practices in family planning programs;
- Improve supply chains, systems and service delivery models by implementing best practices in training, supervision, monitoring and evaluation, and quality improvement;
- Procure the additional commodities countries need to reach their family planning goals and to guarantee access to a range of high quality, affordable, acceptable, and safe contraceptive methods; and
- Develop, evaluate, and scale up successful innovative approaches to family planning programming and service delivery.
The commitments made this week at the summit will change the world by saving and improving millions of lives in the world’s poorest countries. K4Health will continue to aid this effort by offering many tools and resources for developing, implementing, and scaling up family planning policy and programs in low-resource settings. Among these resources are:
- Toolkits: online libraries of selected resources on health and technical topics, including contraceptive methods and elements of family planning success;
- Popline: the world’s largest database of reproductive health literature;
- The Implementing Best Practices Knowledge Gateway: one of the most popular online knowledge-sharing spaces in the health and development sector; and
- The ACE Mobile App: an app that gives family planning providers an easy and effective way to check whether clients are medically eligible to start using certain contraceptive methods.