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Nigeria setting good example on family planning – UNFPA Executive Director

Dr. Kanem

The newly-appointed United Nations Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, has commended Nigeria’s strides in family planning services, saying “the people and government of Nigeria are pioneers in the area of family planning, and have set an example globally for other nations and communities to follow.”

Kanem said this preparatory to FP2020 Reference Group meeting holding in Abuja from 10 to 13th October this year.

The Panamanian and co-chair of the group added: “We still have far to go to achieve the FP2020 vision of ensuring an additional 120 million women and girls have access to family planning services by the year 2020. UNFPA will work closely with Nigerian young people, representatives from faith-based organizations and the broad spectrum of civil society that have stepped up to carry forward the vision of our late Executive Director, Dr. Osotimehin, for a world where every woman who wants family planning is able to get it.

“I am honoured to take the reins as co-chair of the FP2020 Reference Group and to work with this remarkable group of leaders, advocates, and young people. Together, by empowering women and girls to make their own reproductive choices and plan their futures, we can make the world a better place for everyone.”

FP2020, a global partnership dedicated to empowering women and girls to decide whether, when, and how many children they want to have, will hold a series of meetings in Abuja to define priorities and next steps following the landmark Family Planning Summit in London last summer.

The meeting of FP2020’s Reference Group brings together 23 family planning champions and leaders from around the world representing governments, civil society organizations, the United Nations, the private sector. The group provides strategic direction for the partnership as it works toward goals laid out in 2012.

The biannual meeting is being held for the first time in Nigeria, fulfilling a long-held ambition of late Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and co-chair of the Reference Group until his passing in June 2017, a statement on the meeting made available to Nigeria Health Online by the organizers said.

The meeting also brings together various local non-governmental organizations, health practitioners, leaders of faith-based institutions, tiers of government and more importantly “more than 140 people from all corners of the globe (who) will add their voices to a growing chorus calling for accountability and increased support for those committed to FP2020 progress”

“The Federal Government of Nigeria, in collaboration with states, donors, implementing partners, private sector and other stakeholders, is pleased to host the Family Planning 2020 Reference Group Meeting here in Abuja, Nigeria,” Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, was quoted as saying in the release.

He added: “This meeting will certainly provide opportunities for the global community to further articulate appropriate strategies to ensure equitable access to voluntary family planning information and services, and to also serve as an accountability platform on policy, programmatic and financial commitments among member nations including Nigeria.”

The statement went on: “Nigeria was one of the first of 41 countries to become a commitment-maker to FP2020 in 2012. It has since renewed its dedication to expanding rights-based family planning for its citizens, particularly in order to reap the “demographic dividend,” which, along with investments in education and expanded opportunities, can harness the contributions of youth for economic growth.

“In 2017, Nigeria expanded the scope of its FP2020 goals, pledging to increase its contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) by 2% every year to achieve 36% by 2018. This will avert 31,000 maternal deaths and 1.5 million child deaths. The government also committed to significantly increase budgets for family planning and reproductive health service delivery, and to expand education of girls. With the number of women of reproductive age growing by more than one million each year, Nigerian family planning programs must grow and adapt to provide life-changing tools to girls and women across the nation.”

The meeting is the first in-country meeting to include newly added members from Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Uganda, and Faith to Action network, among others. The days preceding the meeting include gatherings and workshops with faith leaders, young people, and civil society organizations in Nigeria—reflecting a diverse and growing community that recognizes the transformative power of family planning to achieve prosperity. In sum, more than 140 people from all corners of the globe will add their voices to a growing chorus calling for accountability and increased support for those committed to FP2020 progress, the statement noted.

“At the Family Planning Summit in July this year, many countries made strong commitments that will help us accelerate progress toward the FP2020 goal and our ultimate vision of universal access, where every woman, everywhere can access contraceptives if she wants to,” said Chris Elias, President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and FP2020 co-chair. “Our task in Abuja is to determine how we can collaborate as partners to make the greatest possible impact for the millions of women and girls who want to plan a healthy and prosperous future for themselves and their children,” it furthered.

FP2020 is a global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide— freely and for themselves—whether, when and how many children they want to have. FP2020 is an outcome of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning and is based on the principle that all women, no matter where they live, should have access to lifesaving contraceptives. FP2020 is in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health.

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