London Family Planning Summit, 11 July 2017: The Moment to Recommit for Progress

Family planning advocates around the world have been working tirelessly to accelerate the momentum towards attaining the July 11th 2012 family planning goal of reaching 120 million additional users with information, services and supplies. Progress recorded thus far is encouraging though falls short of meeting the set national and global targets.

This year’s Family Planning Summit, which takes place on July 11th 2017, is yet another opportunity for global and national actors to recommit to this noble goal when they convene in London. This time around, youth advocates from some of the 38 Family Planning committing countries will join global leaders – governments, private sector, multilateral organizations, and CSOs; to seek ways to transform key lessons into actionable interventions that countries would adapt within their contexts.

Special forums dubbed Spotlight Events will be interactive sessions to discuss how best to build on what has worked, as well as generate advocacy messages to promote and sustain change. These dialogues will further underline the role of family planning in promoting socio-economic development with a focus on six thematic areas namely, – i) Innovative financing; ii) Commodity financing; iii) Supply Chains; iv) Expanding method mix; v) Humanitarian approach – leaving no woman behind; and vi) Adolescents and youth.

The London Summit coincides with the World Population Day (WPD) marked globally every July 11th, with activities revolving around fertility, population growth, and development. World leaders make statements on #WorldPopulationDay #WPD to further rally different players around population-related issues.

While the global community gears up to the Family Planning Summit, country-level Satellite activities in committing countries will be running at various times during #WorldPopulationDay. These activities will take different forms and shape but all have family planning as one common agenda. Taking on board this year’s WPD theme (Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations), family planning stakeholders in Tanzania plan on providing family planning services and conducting demand-creation activities. These will be held at the national level at Mwembeyanga grounds in Temeke Municipality in Dar es Salaam.

To cap it all, family planning partners will be hosting a breakfast meeting with the private corporates to deliberate on how best public-private partnership for family planning could be strengthened. This forum, to take place on #WorldPopulationDay, is expected to revitalize private sector commitment and broaden partnerships for change.

The private sector has played and continues to play a critical role in the country’s development efforts in all sectors, education and health in particular. A number of companies complimenting government efforts to fight malaria – The Malaria Safe Consortium – have acknowledged the benefits of supporting family planning initiatives towards increased productivity. Better-planned families reduce demands on man-hours for child rearing and absenteeism due to illness, among other things. In any production work this is considered ‘lost’ time.

By 2020, Tanzania should witness significant progress in ensuring that family planning services are universally available and that women and girls are better able to access contraceptives of their choice. This should be possible with the government’s continued budgetary commitments for family planning at both national and sub-national levels, as efforts to reach the ‘last mile’ are granted serious attention.

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