On Saturday, November 7, the World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free. Hundreds flooded the streets of Freetown to celebrate and pay tribute to those whose lives were lost during the outbreak. I read about the celebrations online with joy and happiness—they’d finally made it. I could almost hear the drums playing from North Carolina.
Over the past year during my travels to Freetown, I’ve observed the struggles and hardships Ebola has caused for Sierra Leoneans. Minor inconveniences such as curfews and routine traffic stops are coupled with grief over lost family members and constant fear of infection.
USAID | Senior Technical Adviser, Office of Population and Reproductive Health
A mother from a rural community in Quiché, Guatemala, tells the story of how family planning and spacing more than three years among each child benefited her as a woman and mother.
USAID has supported family planning programs since 1965. As we move toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda, commitment to family planning must remain a key element of the global agenda.
MSH/SIAPS | Principal Technical Advisor and Cluster Lead for Pharmaceutical Services
"No action today, no cure tomorrow." World Health Day, 7 April 2011.
Picture a scenario where infections become totally untreatable because none of the available antimicrobial agents work.
This is not imaginary, but is likely to happen very soon if we don’t act urgently, intensely, and consistently to tackle the rising tide of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled AMR as one of the biggest global public health threats. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and multidrug-resistant hospital infections are revealing examples of such a looming crisis. A recent report highlights the catastrophic consequences AMR will have wrought by the year 2050 if we don’t act now to contain it—about 10 million deaths a year and a cumulative cost of $100 trillion.
On November 5, the Steering Committee of the International Conference on Family Planning announced the difficult decision to postpone the conference. A nearby volcano has disrupted air travel and created potential health hazards at the conference site. No new date or location has been announced yet. But as Melinda Gates says, not even a volcano can stop the conversation about family planning.
In a few short days, the 2015 International Conference on Family Planning will draw nearly 3,000 delegates to Nusa Dua, Indonesia, focusing on this year’s theme: “Global Commitments, Local Actions.” To us, this gathering of family planning donors, implementers, program managers, government officials, and others to coordinate, collaborate, share data, and exchange lessons learned, is essentially a large knowledge exchange event!
So what excites us the most about ICFP this year?
FP2020’s latest progress report will be released at the conference. We are excited to learn about country-level progress towards family planning commitments and are proud to have contributed to these global commitments. We are pleased to have partnered with FP2020 and others on the Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) Resource Kit, which helps countries strengthen investments and evaluate their progress. We also work to widely disseminate high-impact practices (HIPs) briefs so programs can have access to practices proven to have a maximum impact on family planning outcomes.