News / Health

Family Planning Summit Set for Ethiopia

UN, USAID say millions of women have unmet family planning needs.
UN, USAID say millions of women have unmet family planning needs.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on family planning conference

Joe DeCapua
About 4,000 people are expected to attend this year’s International Conference on Family Planning. The three day meeting opens November 12 in Addis Ababa. The theme is Full Access, Full Choice.


Organizers described the conference as “a movement and platform” in the family planning agenda. They say Ethiopia was chosen to host this year’s meeting because of its strong commitment to family planning and its access to modern contraceptive methods.

A new resource will be unveiled at the conference called Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning. It’s a joint effort by the World Health Organization, USAID, the U.N. Population Fund and ministries of health from many countries, among others. It’s called a “roadmap” for designing effective postpartum family planning programs at both the local and national levels.

“This resource is going to change how family planning is provided to women around the time of birth in the postpartum,” said Anne Pfitzer, family planning team leader for the USAID’s Maternal Child Health Integrated Program or MCHIP.

She said that during postpartum – the time after childbirth -- women have distinct and unmet family planning needs.

“We have seen that postpartum family planning is essential, is needed. It saves lives. We think that this resource document is going to help many countries do more to reach women, who right now may be confused about family planning options right around the time of birth.”

In fact, she said, many women may be unaware of the risk of becoming pregnant again so soon after giving birth.

“In many countries, too many closely spaced births, which are associated with negative outcomes for both mothers and babies in terms of their health. We know, I think intuitively that mothers don’t want to have a baby every year. Mortality curves show much better outcomes between three to five years between pregnancies.”

Organizers said data for 27 developing countries show that “95 percent of postpartum women want to avoid another pregnancy” in the two years following birth. They added that “65 percent have an unmet need for contraception.”

“The problem I think is that many women themselves are confused about when they might get pregnant after a pregnancy. They have misconception about methods of family planning – how they interact with breastfeeding, for example. Or sometimes they think that because it took them three years to get pregnant last time it will be the same this time around. And in fact six months later they’re pregnant again,” Pfitzer said.

Organizers estimate that “287,000 women die every year from problems caused by childbirth – and that one in four women could be saved if they had global access to contraception.” What’s more, they say 200 million couples in the developing world are “unable to control the number and spacing” of the birth of their children.

In the United States, family planning is often a political issue – with debates over privacy, abortion and a woman’s right to choose.

Pfitzer said, “It’s unfortunate that in the U.S. family planning has become controversial. It shouldn’t happen in this day and age. Couples should have the chance to plan the number and timing of their children and have all the options available to them to do so.”

Ethiopian fashion model Liya Kebede is helping to launch Programming Strategies for Postpartum Family Planning. She has a foundation promoting maternal health.

This year’s International Conference on Family Planning is co-hosted by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid