UNFPA-IPPF initiative to fill gap in health care infrastructure

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

The initiative will seek 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 supplies, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IFFP) announced here.

The UNFPA-IPPF programme will vary with the needs of Bolivia, Cote d’lvoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Kenya, Liberia, Myanmar, Nigeria, the Pacific Islands, Pakistan and South Sudan, where contraceptive prevalence rate is low and the unmet need for family planning is considerable.

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 UNFPA’s work for more than 40 years, and partnerships like this one are key to ensuring that hard-to-reach and underserved populations, particularly women, girls and young people, get access to the reproductive health they need,’’ said UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin.

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.

The effort is expected 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. As part of the initiative, seven IPFF member-associations will work in close collaboration with UNFPA.