Ethiopia praised for increasing access to family planning
Addis Ababa, July 12 (WIC)- Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, presented the step up in use of contraceptives in Ethiopia at the London Family Planning Summit.
The summit, co-hosted by the UK government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation yesterday was attended by more than 20 countries including the US, India, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, representatives of the civil society, donors and other stakeholders.
Ethiopia’s delegation was led by Minister of Health, Dr. Tewodros Adhanom, who detailed the current improvements in use of contraceptives in Ethiopia.
He noted that women themselves were now asking for contraceptives and the government had made “significant progress in meeting this demand.
The contraceptive prevalence rate had doubled in 5 years and on current trends should be able to get to 65% by 2015 reaching an additional 6.2 million women and adolescent girls.
Dr. Tedros said this was an ambitious goal but “It is an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. We are determined to close the family planning gap and accelerate our efforts on maternal and child survival and health.”
An article published ahead of the Summit in the medical journal, the Lancet, by Prime Minister Meles and Rwanda's Pierre Damien Habumuremyi called on African leaders to spend more on family planning.
The two leaders said reducing population growth would help their governments make the necessary investments “to reduce poverty and hunger, preserve natural resources, and adapt to the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation”.
Donors have praised Ethiopia and Rwanda for encouraging increasing access to family planning through their strong political commitment and substantial investment in their health systems.
The summit was called to raise funds to provide affordable, lifesaving contraceptives, information, services, and supplies available to an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.
Both the UK government and the Gates Foundation pledged to double their aid to family planning over the next eight years. The British commitment will rise from 140 million US dollars to 280 million US dolars.
In total, governments and charitable organizations have pledged 2.6 billion US dollars over the next eight years.
The funds will help stop 200,000 women and girls from dying in pregnancy and save the lives of 3 million babies across the world’s poorest countries.
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