Opinion Pieces Discuss Family Planning Summit, Importance Of Reproductive Health Services

Devex: Opinion: It’s time to integrate nutrition and family planning services. Here’s why.
Luz María De-Regil, director of global technical services at Nutrition International

“…Here are three reasons why integrating nutrition in family planning is a game changer. 1. Adolescent girls have urgent, unmet family planning and nutrition needs … 2. Integrating family planning and nutrition increases reach and impact … 3. Nutrition and family planning interventions are mutually reinforcing … It’s time for concerted global action to build the political will, technical capacity, and policies and resources to scale up family planning and nutrition to meet the needs and rights of adolescent girls. When we all work together to realize our collective goals and objectives, a more just and prosperous world is possible” (7/11).

Huffington Post: 1.2 Billion Reasons Why Countries Must Empower Young People to Plan the Future
Pape Gaye, president and CEO of IntraHealth International

“…Today, the largest generation of young people in the history of the world is about to enter adulthood. … Access to contraceptives and rights-based family planning services will be one of the most crucial determinants of this new generation’s success, because they empower young people to plan their futures. To ensure their family planning programs are successful and meet the needs of their young populations, countries must give young people opportunities to be part of the process. That means leaders around the world must: 1. Accept that young people’s voices are powerful and valuable … 2. Nurture youth leadership among civil society. … 3. Promote jobs for women. … It’s time to stop shooing young people away from the conversation, and start inviting them to help move the world forward…” (7/10).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Her future depends on our actions today
Françoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition

“…If the international community is serious about achieving its goal [of reaching 120 million women and girls with contraceptives by 2020], it must rethink its strategy. Progress has been limited for three main reasons. First, family planning programs still tend to focus on married women, leaving adolescent girls without access to contraceptives. … Second, several of the initiatives launched under FP2020 concentrated on improving the supply of contraceptives, but neglected the other barriers to care that must be addressed. … Third, policymakers and family planning programs continue to leave abortion out of the picture for social, ideological, religious, or legal reasons. … The international community must recognize the right of every girl and woman to access contraceptive methods and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion…” (7/11).

Huffington Post: 4 ways that Investing in Adolescents’ Access to Modern Contraception Could Change the World
Katja Iversen, president and CEO of Women Deliver

“…Here are four of the ways that increasing adolescents’ access to and use of modern contraception, bolstered by comprehensive sexuality education, would dramatically transform our world for the better. 1. Millions of adolescent girls would no longer fear unintended pregnancy — and with it, the risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth. … 2. More adolescent girls would stay in school and realize their full potential. … 3. More girls would lift themselves, their families, and communities from the cycle of poverty. … 4. All of us would enjoy greater social and economic prosperity. … Meeting adolescents’ need for modern contraception is one of the smartest decisions we can make, creating hope and fostering opportunities. … Champions for adolescent girls must continue to: break the stigma around adolescent access to and use of modern contraception, along with the stigma associated with teen pregnancy; engage and put young people front and center in our conversations, solutions, and actions; and advocate and spread the word about progress and about what works in regards to policies, programs, and initiatives centered on adolescent needs. The payoff of investing in adolescents will be enormous…” (7/10).

Devex: Opinion: Here’s why the world should fund family planning
Rachel Robinson, associate professor in the School of International Service at American University

“…Despite the advantages of family planning programs, many oppose them on economic, moral, or nativist grounds. … On this World Population Day, we need to advance new ways to convince skeptics that family planning is worth the investment. Advocates should use the demographic dividend to justify investments now in order to save money later. They should try to build new coalitions by stressing that family planning programs reduce abortion. And they should draw a lesson from history — that family planning programs strengthened health systems and, in turn, helped to lay the groundwork for HIV prevention — to encourage greater family planning investments in the name of stopping infectious disease threats before they reach our shores” (7/10).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: We must recognize that family planning saves lives in crises
Melanie Ward, associate director of policy and advocacy at the International Rescue Committee

“…The [2017 Family Planning] Summit in London on Tuesday provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring leaders from around the world together to finally put women and girls in crises and emergencies at the center of global family planning efforts. To do this, participants need to commit to enshrining reproductive health in all phases of emergency response and to fund accessible, flexible family planning services in emergencies. Governments with family planning action plans should also include women and girls affected by crises, and work with health authorities to guarantee access to family planning through national emergency response plans. Control over your body and your future is a universal right. Let’s make sure that the most vulnerable women and girls … are not left behind” (7/11).

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