The London Summit on Family Planning, co-sponsored by the U.K. government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with support from UNFPA and other partners, is scheduled to take place next week. The following blog posts address the summit and the issue of family planning.
Gary Darmstadt, Win Brown, Wendy Prosser, Gates Foundation's "Impatient Optimists": "[T]here are key questions we need to ask -- and answer -- in order to make sure women are provided the best care possible. How do we ensure that the decision to use family planning is voluntary? How do we ensure the highest quality of information, services, and contraceptives are provided?" Darmstadt and colleagues, all of the Family Health Division of the Gates Foundation, write. "These questions are about the quality of programs and care, and require that we build systemic monitoring into what actually happens when a woman seeking contraception gains access to a program providing contraception," they state, concluding that "we all must be held accountable for fulfilling the promise to the poorest women and girls in the world of ensuring access to high-quality, voluntary family planning programs" (7/2).
John May, Center for Global Development's (CGD) "Global Health Policy": With the summit "expected to raise pledges of approximately $4 billion to provide family planning services to 120 million women over the next eight years," "family planning is back at the heart of the global development agenda," May, a visiting fellow at CGD and adjunct professor of demography at Georgetown University, writes. He outlines "four crucial elements for the renewed efforts on family planning to succeed," including "a sense of urgency"; "family planning must remain voluntary"; "broader development goals [must be] taken into account"; and "policymakers must keep aware of macro-demographic considerations, and the linkages between population growth and the other development sectors." May concludes, "Let us always keep in mind that the lack of information on and free access to family planning services deprives the poorest of the poor from exerting their basic right to a better life" (7/2).