Global Leaders Call for Increased Investments in Family Planning to Drive Social and Economic Returns in Developing Countries
ICFP Speakers Underscore the Far-Reaching Impacts of Investments in Modern Contraception on Same Day That Donors Announce Additional $350M in Family Planning Funding
Kigali, Rwanda (13 November 2018) – Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of the Republic of Rwanda, emphasized the benefits of family planning for health, education, economies and the environment, in remarks made alongside economists and young advocates at the 2018 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) today. Addressing over 3,700 attendees, speakers called for increased funding for programs expanding access to contraceptives in developing countries to promote long-term stability and economic growth. A complete archive of conference live coverage can be found here.
In the hours surrounding the plenary, three major donors made announcements tied to family planning funding:
These announcements complemented the morning plenary, in which Dr. Ndagijimana was joined by Dr. Ernesto Pernia, Economic Planning Minister of the Philippines and Annette Dixon, Vice President of Human Development at the World Bank, on a roundtable discussing the critical role of family planning in achieving the demographic dividend. Experts define the demographic dividend as the potential for economic growth that results from shifts in a population’s age structure. As health outcomes improve and more women gain access to contraceptives, birth rates decline and the working population increases while the number of dependents decreases. Paired with the right social and economic investments, countries can position themselves to experience sustained economic growth.
“The demographic dividend refers to gains in economic growth and changes in the population age structure when we have a larger working-age population and fewer dependents,” said Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Rwanda. “For this workforce to generate a dividend, it must be well-equipped with the right knowledge and skills [including family planning] to be productive to help the economy grow.”
Plenary panelists emphasized that the world is entering a particularly critical moment: more than half of the world’s 1.2 billion young people (aged 10-19) live in developing countries and many still lack access to contraceptives. Speakers described how greater access to reproductive health services could enable this generation of young people to plan their pregnancies – thereby increasing their chances of staying in school, joining the workforce and becoming the next generation of productive adults rearing healthy families and fueling prosperous economies.
Demographer and economist Dr. Hans-Peter Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania and 24-year-old ICFP Young Leader from Zimbabwe, Ms. Jane Nyathi, reinforced these points at a second roundtable, which closed with a special message from environmentalist Jane Goodall.
Ms. Jane Nyathi emphasized “Family planning issues mostly affect young people. [Many] African countries have not lived up to their [FP2020] commitments and people’s future are diminished and destroyed [as a result]. It is important that youth be taken seriously because we are the present and we are the future.”
In addition to reducing newborn and maternal deaths and school dropouts due to early pregnancy, experts estimate that achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health services by 2030 and eliminating unmet need for modern contraception by 2040 could realize health and economic benefits worth $120 for each dollar spent. Studies also suggest that sufficient investment in voluntary family planning services and girls’ education would reduce carbon emissions by nearly 60 gigatons through 2050.
Following the morning plenary, First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda Mrs. Jeannette Kagame, was joined by distinguished female leaders including Her Excellency Martine Moïse, First Lady of Haïti; Her Excellency Toyin Ojora-Saraki, Founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Her Royal Highness Sarah Zeid, Princess of Jordan on a panel discussion, “Women of Impact: Global Leaders Creating Positive Change.”
“This is what women’s leadership is about. We catalyze positive change, we lead without imposing. We face challenges head on as ‘natural leaders,” said First Lady of Rwanda Mrs. Jeannette Kagame.
“Our collective knowledge, skill sets, vast and varied experiences, will help us innovate, challenge norms and standards that do not promote equality, and always find the best possible solutions, which truly ensure that ‘no one is left behind.”
Another session of the day was on Community Health. The discussion was about overcoming barriers to access community based provision program of family planning services by Community Health Workers (CHWs).
Mrs. Katty Mugeni in charge of Maternal and Child and Community Unit in Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC) said "Family Planning is a priority in Rwanda, we don't just talk about it but we implement it!”
Minister of Health Dr. Diane Gashumba commended work done by CHWs in Rwanda: "There is no cost for the work you do, thanks to your efforts, we achieved the health related MDGs because of your great contribution.” CHWs contribute in raising awareness on the importance of Family Planning, educate them about the existing methods and provide services to those who chose to use them.
Tonight, the Women of Impact joined fellow political leaders, advocates and celebrities for a “Red Carpet Celebration: An Evening Among the Stars,” co-hosted by Population Services International, where the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to four champions of the modern contraception movement. A Young Maverick Award was also given to a young philanthropist who has worked to revolutionize access to reproductive healthcare.
In the days ahead, program highlights will include:
ABOUT THE ICFP: Held biennially since 2009, the ICFP serves as a strategic inflection point for the family planning community worldwide. It provides an opportunity for scientists, researchers, policymakers and advocates to disseminate knowledge, celebrate successes and identify next steps toward reaching the goal of enabling an additional 120 million women to access voluntary, quality contraception by 2020.
The 2018 ICFP is co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, based at the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Republic of Rwanda’s Ministry of Health. The 2018 ICFP is made possible with support from the ICFP Core Organizing Group—United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, David and Lucille Packard Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Department for International Development of the United Kingdom (DfID), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), United Nations Foundation (UNF), Government of the Netherlands, and Marie Stopes International (MSI)—as well as the International Steering Committee, comprised of more than 50 partner organizations, and the National Steering Committee of the ICFP. For more information about the ICFP, please visit fpconference.org.
LIVESTREAM: Livestreams from the conference are available on the ICFP Virtual Conference Program here.
MEDIA CONTACT: Global Health Strategies (email@example.com)