It’s been twenty-six years since the International Conference on Population and Development affirmed women’s reproductive health as an essential human right. In this episode of A Deeper Look, I sit down with Ann Starrs, Director of Family Planning at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to hear how new products, policies and practices are disrupting the family planning landscape and offering greater access and better outcomes for users.
Tagged: Gates Foundation
Don’t forget about dad: Six strategies for getting fathers more involved in child feedingWritten by
Whether he’s aware of his influence or not, almost every father in every culture influences his family’s choices about how to feed the children. His everyday decisions about how many of the eggs the family’s chickens lay will be sold at market and how many will be kept at home for the family to eat can make the difference between a stunted child and one who reaches his or her full growth potential.
The Alive & Thrive project reviewed programs from around the world that were designed to engage fathers in child feeding, identifying the strategies that seem to make these programs work. Not surprisingly, the six strategies we identified in the most innovative “dads” programs echo sound principles from behavior change and social marketing. Our review indicated that, especially when program planners apply these six strategies, fathers’ actions can lead to real improvements in nutrition.
What it takes to wipe out malariaWritten by
Many tourists know Siem Reap, Cambodia, as the base for exploring the beautiful 12th-century ruins at Angkor Wat. But when Melinda and I stopped there last week, we weren’t thinking about visiting a historic site. In fact we may have been the first visitors who ever passed through Siem Reap and skipped the temples completely.
We were on our way to see another piece of history in the making — Cambodia’s effort to eliminate malaria from within its borders. What we saw may eventually point the way toward a goal that’s shared by many of us in the global health community: eradicating malaria.
As children fare, so do nations. An investment in the well-being, health, and development of children today will be reflected in the health and development of their communities and nations. A smart investment in the future saves lives, saves money, and can be scaled up to reach children, wherever they are.
Breastfeeding is a smart investment.
Nutrition during the 1,000 days of a mother’s pregnancy until her child’s second birthday is a critical window of opportunity to give a child a healthy start at life. And beginning from birth, breastfeeding offers food security for infants and young children everywhere. Evidence shows that improving breastfeeding practices could save the lives of 800,000 children annually, and millions more would benefit from the increased immunity and nutrition breast milk provides.
London Summit on Family Planning
On Wednesday, July 11, 2012, the U.K. Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are hosting the groundbreaking London Summit on Family Planning. According to the Summit’s website, the meeting plans to, “mobilize global policy, financing, commodity, and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020.”
FHI 360 believes that family planning is a key aspect of human development. The following posts are perspectives from FHI 360 staff on family planning’s importance around the world.
Family Planning: A Unique Opportunity for Change
This video shows clips from the summit and interviews with partners discussing the importance of family planning. Post by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on YouTube.Read More
High Time for New Innovations in Contraceptive Technology
When is the last time you bought a new cell phone? If you live in the United States, the United Kingdom or a similar developed country, it’s likely that you purchased a new cell phone within the last 2 years…Read More
London Family Planning Summit: A Call to Focus on Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality
At the close of last week's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20, those concerned with women's rights expressed disappointment at how little attention gender equality and women's reproductive health and rights received...Read More
The Domino Effect of Family PlanningWritten by
Imagine a line of dominos stretched out as far as the eye can see, with additional lines branching off into the distance. This web of dominos represents the multiple connections between family planning and every dimension of sustainable development. What many still don’t comprehend is how large and far reaching this web truly is.
We’ll begin with a simple and intuitive causal relationship: voluntary use of contraception prevents unintended pregnancies. Unintended pregnancies result in thousands of deaths globally and many more disabilities each year. Many unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. Almost half of the 40 million abortions performed each year are unsafe, placing nearly 20 million women at risk for infection, hemorrhage, disability, and death. Thus, contraception prevents unintended pregnancies and saves women’s lives.
And the benefits of family planning don’t end with women. Families using contraception have fewer, healthier children and reduced economic burden. Children born to mothers who have used modern contraception in planning their families are not only more likely to have a mother, and one who is healthy, they also are more likely to have been breast fed for longer and received more parental attention, support and resources than children born in to families that were not planned. All of these factors increase the chances that they will survive infancy into childhood. Therefore, family planning also saves children’s lives. Moreover, if after childhood girls and women are given control over their fertility, they are more likely to stay in school and to get jobs. Educated, employed women are in turn more likely to use contraception, thus re-initiating the virtuous cycle of benefits that family planning brings to women and their families.
The benefits still don’t end there. Ensuring that we can feed our growing population while protecting the planet has quickly become one of the most pressing challenges in sustainable development. Regions of the world with the highest unmet need for family planning are already forced to bear the burden of climate change effects to which they have contributed the least. These effects include drought and famine. Turning an extra acre of forest into tilled land is not a choice for a woman without access to reproductive health resources. It is a matter of survival. And it is a preventable scenario. Right now more than 200 million women worldwide want to plan and time their pregnancies but are unable to do so for lack of information and access to contraceptive resources. If the percentage of women with unmet family planning needs remains constant, developing country populations are expected hit 9.7 billion by 2050, and 25.8 billion by 2100. By filling this need, we could greatly relieve some of the combined pressures being placed on resources and communities, including a growing demand for food.
The right and ability of women and couples to plan their families is not peripheral to the aims and objectives of Rio+20. Indeed, the call for greater attention to women’s rights and issues at Rio+20 is growing into a crescendo. Women’s Major Group is mobilizing women across the world to share their stories and ensure that women’s rights are front and center on the agenda. Over 100 of the world’s leading scientific academies have called upon world leaders to enact rational, evidence-based responses to sustainable development challenges, including global access to comprehensive reproductive health resources.
Until now, too few people have been aware and too few leaders willing to acknowledge the essential role that family planning plays in achieving sustainable development. Rio+20 is our chance to tip this pivotal domino piece forward, and witness the measurable cascade of progress it evokes.
The Stories Behind the Statistics
“The Stories Behind the Statistics” is a series put together for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation‘s blog “Impatient Optimists” by the Interagency Youth Working Group (IYWG). The IYWG, housed here at FHI 360, provides technical leadership to improve the reproductive and sexual health of young people. The following posts were originally posted on “Impatient Optimists” and are reposted here with permission. All photos courtesy of the Gates Foundation.
Young People and HIV
Last August, during World Youth Day in Madrid, I was conducting outreach to encourage Catholic youth to use condoms. It was there that I heard one of the most frightening things ever: One young man told me that an HIV-positive person had no right to have sex...Read More
Family Planning for Young Women
I lead a support group for mothers ages 12-19, in Kenya. Most of the mothers I work with are out-of-school youth; many live on the streets, work in the informal economy, or are orphaned. As a part of our support program, we provide weekly peer-to-peer sessions focusing on uptake of antenatal care...Read More
Youth Reproductive and Sexual Health
By the end of today, 2,500 young people will become infected with HIV and 1,400 girls and women will die in childbirth...Read More