International Conference on Family Planning 2009

Family Planning: Research and Best Practices

Ward Cates: What Now?

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After two full days sharing research, ideas and knowledge, the question today at the ICFP is how to put the knowledge to action. Ward Cates, of Family Health International, opened today’s plenary by asking, “How do we do it?”

Cates spoke about the “pearls”—of knowledge, of wisdom—gathered over the last days. (Cates’s turn of phrase is more than appropriate: Uganda is known as the pearl of Africa.) Cates’s 10 points outline the areas of focus that he hopes will bring family planning renewed success and interest.

“Family planning is essential to achieving all of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said. Among the core issues discussed that deserve greatest attention are policies that address unmet contraceptive need; consistent and correct contraceptive use; contraceptive technology that makes adherence easy and cost-effective; and increased service delivery, so that all who wish to receive family planning have access to it.

Cates also tackled several of the newer issues that consistently surfaced at the conference. “I think we’ve reached a tipping point,” he said, in terms of getting countries on board with integrating family planning and HIV services. He also noted the growing acceptance of family planning as an effective HIV prevention strategy; the effectiveness of integrating family planning into other services such as postnatal and maternal and child health services; the need to get youth and men involved, particularly in reducing the taboos around vasectomy; reducing duplication among programs; and the importance of ownership of efforts by African leaders.

Written by C. Grillo | JHSPH

November 18, 2009 at 10:14 pm

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