Gates, Rwanda To Host 5th Family Planning Conference

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promises to help Nigeria eradicate polio.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation promises to help Nigeria eradicate polio.

Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health and Rwanda’s health ministry, have announced an intention to host the 5th International Conference on Family Planning.

The ICFP will be held at the Kigali Convention Centre, between November 12 – 15, 2018.

The state-of-the-art convention center has hosted many high-level international meetings including the 27th African Union Summit.

The conference, which is held biennially in different countries, is the largest scientific conference on reproductive health and family planning.

The last conference was held in Indonesia in 2016 and attracted over 3,500 delegates and participants from about 100 countries, organisers said.

“The Government of Rwanda is privileged to host the fifth International Conference on Family Planning delegates in Kigali, Rwanda, and is committed to working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute to ensure that the event is successfully hosted in the country,” said Minister of Health, Diane Gashumba.

“Rwandan President Paul Kagame was one of the distinguished attendees of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, at which he joined the co-hosts, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom, along with other national governments, donors, civil society, the private sector, and the research and development community, in a groundbreaking promise to make affordable contraception available to an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.

“We are excited to host the family planning community in Rwanda to continue our collective work and learn from each other’s experiences to find new ways to help us realise this goal,” Gashumba added.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Rwandan Ministry of Health for the 2018 ICFP,” said Jose “Oying” Rimon II, Chair of the International Steering Committee of the ICFP and Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“It will be wonderful to return to Africa for the 2018 conference, and to highlight some of the spectacular gains in family planning that are occurring in many parts of Africa today, as well as the challenges that lie ahead.”

Rwanda is one of the family planning success stories of recent history.

The first decade of the 2000s saw great achievements: a dramatic rise in the country’s contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods between 2000 and 2007, and a drop in total fertility rate from 6.1 in 2000 to 4.6 in 2010.

Rwanda’s leadership has been highly supportive of family planning; in recent years, the country has invested in its network of community health workers (CHWs), run communications campaigns to drive demand and behaviour change, and provided training on long-acting and permanent contraceptive methods.

Yet progress has slowed, despite Rwanda’s continued commitment to family planning as a way to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the sustainable development of its people and the world.

Since inception in 2009, the ICFP has served as a strategic inflection point for the family planning and reproductive health community worldwide.

It provides an opportunity for political leaders, scientists, researchers, policymakers, advocates, and youth to disseminate knowledge, celebrate successes, and identify next steps toward reaching the goal of enabling an additional 120 million women to access voluntary, quality contraception by 2020.

The ICFP also serves as an international platform from which countries, organisations and individuals can make public commitments to family planning, and can be recognised for their achievements.

Dozens of side events are organised around the conference by many institutions and groups from around the world.

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