A new initiative to boost family planning services in 13 countries, focusing on vulnerable groups, particularly in areas affected by natural disasters and conflict, was launched in New Delhi on the concluding day of the Women Deliver conference.

The initiative, to include India also, will contribute to fill the gap in health care infrastructure, boosting the quality of health workforce and developing efficient family planning distribution systems, as well as ensuring affordable family planning supplies. This was announced by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IFFP) here.

The joint UNFPA/IPPF programme will vary according to the context and needs of the target countries like Bolivia, Cote d lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Kenya, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pacific India, Pakistan and South Sudan where contraceptive prevalence rate is low and considerable unmet need for family planning.

Countries still recovering from prolonged conflict or natural disasters will receive support as part of rebuilding efforts. Other priority countries will focus on minorities, youth and vulnerable populations.

“Family planning has been at the heart of UNFPAs work for more than 40 years, and partnerships like this one are key to ensuring that hard-to-reach and under-served populations, particularly women, girls and young people, get access to the reproductive health they need,’’ UNFPA Executive Director, Babatunde Osotimehin said.

The partnership, which will ensure that innovative strategies are included and funded by national plans, is being fine-tuned with information collected during assessments carried out through the year. Assessments have been completed in Kenya, Cote d lvoire, Liberia, South Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

A series of innovative approaches is expected to help increase access to family planning among hard to reach populations. The effort is expected to make significant contributions to enable 120 million more women and girls to access family planning by 2020 – the goal committed at the London Summit on Family Planning in July last year.

As part of the initiative, seven IPFF member associations will work in close collaboration with UNFPA to provide around 2 million family planning services by 2013 with plans to increase this number to 25 million by 2015. Young people are expected to constitute about 30 per cent of the beneficiaries.

RELATED NEWS

Leaders on a roll May 14, 2013

More In: National | News