Today is World Population Day, and also the one-year anniversary of the London Summit on Family Planning. The commitments made at last year’s Summit have already led to tremendous progress. In more than 20 countries, governments are creating national plans to incorporate family planning into their women’s and children’s health programs. An additional three to four countries are preparing to make new commitments, and more than 10 countries have held their own family planning conferences.
Senegal has pledged to increase the number of women using modern contraceptives from 12 to 27% by 2015. In order to do so, the government is increasing the commodity budget by 200% and doubling the overall family planning budget. Stock-outs have typically served as a major obstacle to Senegalese women, with 84% reporting stock-outs of their preferred contraceptive method. To address this, Senegal has developed an informed push distribution model to supply contraceptives to the three most populous regions: Dakar, Thiès and Kaolack.
Sierra Leone has increased its health budget from 8 to 13%, and has implemented a voucher system for low-income citizens to receive care from private sector health providers. The country has also focused efforts on outreach to youth, and recently has seen a significant increase in the number of youth accessing contraception through Marie Stopes International (MSI). In 2012, 25% of MSI’s clients were young people, as compared to 12% of all contraceptive users in the country.
In addition to country-level commitments, private sector pledges are increasing contraceptive access for girls and women worldwide. Public-private partnerships have made two long-acting, reversible contraceptive implants—Jadelle and Implanon—available to millions of women in developing countries at half the original price. This partnership includes Bayer, Merck, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, the governments of Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and the United Nations Population Fund.
Given the success of the past year, the future appears brighter than ever before. Our future depends on our investments in and support of girls and women today.
Flickr photo via United Nations Photo.