Indonesian President calls for action on contraceptive access

President Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia, has opened the fourth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) with a call for global action to expand access to contraception.

He said there was the need to build a future that would ensure that “all women and girls are empowered to choose whether and when they want to have children and space their births, so that mothers and their babies have better opportunities for better lives.”

The four-day conference being held in Nusa Dua, Indonesia is being attended by thousands of government, health and development leaders worldwide.

Co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia (BKKBN), the conference is centered on the theme of “Global Commitments, Local Actions.”

Mr Joko Widodo said to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and sustain economic growth, investments in family planning are necessary and urged global leaders to take real action to bring about healthy mothers, healthy children and prosperous families.

“By so doing we will be making the Planet Earth a better place to live,” Jokowi added.

He said the stigma and discrimination against women seeking family planning services must end, and that family planning education must become a priority in every country.

“The Government of Indonesia is working hard to revitalise our family planning programme, we know that the challenges facing Indonesian families in the future will only be greater, especially when it comes to population issues… we also encourage local governments to raise awareness and make family planning a priority in every municipality and village across Indonesia,” The President said.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, said family planning was about women’s rights and their capacity to make decisions about their health and well-being, contributing to the objectives of FP2020.

“It is a most significant investment to promote human capital development, combat poverty and harness a demographic dividends, thus contributing to equitable and sustainable economic development within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

Dr Chris Elias, President of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said the family planning data and evidence pointed to concrete steps taken as a community to get back on track to meet the FP2020 goal, adding, “Now we must ask ourselves what more we can do to align our efforts to ensure all women have the information and tools they need to time and space their pregnancies.”

He said family planning will play a critical role in realising the SDGs, the new development agenda for the next 15 years, adopted in September at the United Nations General Assembly and help in reducing the global unmet need for family planning services.

The 2016 ICFP will serve as a platform for global partners to revisit global commitments to family planning and accelerate progress towards the FP2020 goal.

The ceremony presented the first-ever Global Humanitarian Awards for Women’s and Children’s Health to recognize individuals for their tremendous contributions and commitment to advancing maternal and child health and well-being, especially family planning, in communities around the world.

This year’s four honorees were: Prof Dato’ Sri. Tahir, Chairman and Founder of the Tahir Foundation; Sir Christopher Hohn, Co-founder of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF); Mrs Fayeeza Naqvi, Chairman and Co-founder, and Mr Arif Masood Naqvi, Co-founder of the Aman Foundation.

The ICFP serves as a strategic inflection point for the family planning community worldwide. It provides an opportunity for scientists, researchers, policymakers and advocates to disseminate knowledge, celebrate successes and identify steps towards reaching the goal of enabling an additional 120 million women to access voluntary, quality contraception by 2020. GNA

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