Yesterday (November 29, 2011) marked the opening ceremonies of the second International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal. The city of Dakar welcomed over 2,400 participants from 88 countries to the conference, which is being hosted by The Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Prevention.
At the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) Project, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with many experts in the area of family planning/reproductive health (FP/RH). Already within the first day, I have seen many of these individuals here at the conference; some of them I am meeting in person for the first time. Beyond just matching names to faces, though, the real excitement of this conference comes from the camaraderie and common interests of the conference participants. Regardless of gender, class, nationality, professional title—everyone is at this conference to discuss the ways to meet family planning needs and improve people’s lives all over the world. I think every participant would agree that you can’t help but feel the excitement in the air.