LONDON (July 9, 2012) — As world leaders convene July 11 for the London Summit on Family Planning, CARE, one of the world's largest humanitarian aid organizations, offers Top 10 Tips on how to meet the family planning needs of millions of women and men in the world's poorest countries by 2020.
Improving sexual and reproductive health, and specifically addressing the unmet need for family planning and resulting high rates of unintended pregnancy, is central to CARE's commitment to gender equality and reducing poverty and social injustice. Family planning has been proven to save lives and promote development.
"Millions of women, girls and couples are not able to choose if and when they have children, despite evidence that family planning is an effective and cost-efficient strategy for fighting poverty," says Christine Galavotti, CARE's director of sexual, reproductive and maternal health who will attend the Summit. "CARE is proud to participate in the London Summit on Family Planning that is promoting action on this critical development issue."
In its more than 50 years of experience working on sexual, reproductive and health issues and current work in more than 30 countries, CARE has learned that any solution must empower women, address pervasive social and cultural norms as well as strengthen systems of governance and accountability. Solutions must also address the sexual and reproductive health of women in emergencies and conflict settings, where women and girls face increased risk of sexual violence and unwanted pregnancies due to the lack of access to contraceptives.
In Pakistan, for example, CARE is working with women such as 21-year-old Nazeeranz, who after five kids during six years of marriage was unable to work outside of the home. After using contraceptives to space pregnancies, she was able to get a job. "I am a helping hand to my family and now our life is getting better," she says.
At the Family Planning Summit, CARE is calling on world leaders to strengthen their financial and political commitments to improving family planning and reproductive health coverage, quality and equity for millions of women and men worldwide.
"The Family Planning Summit is just the beginning," says Galavotti. "We look forward to working to make reproductive rights a reality for all."
CARE's Top 10 Tips for world leaders attending the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning:
- Universal access to contraception saves women's lives! This would mean 25 percent fewer maternal deaths, actually.
- Stop discussing whether or not family planning is a human right. 3.
- Everyone already agreed it was in the 1994 Cairo Programme of Action.
- Family planning isn't just about condoms (or the pill, or IUDs). It's 5. EMPOWERING women to make choices about their own health..... and women (and communities) must be involved in designing what those choices should be.
- Family planning leads to healthier, wealthier and better educated families. Family planning fights poverty and supports progress to meeting the MDGs!.
- People don't stop having sex during emergencies. But they do lose access to family planning services. Make this part of emergency response.
- Rape is used as a weapon. Any emergency response must also include emergency contraception and support for survivors.
- Pregnancy is a leading killer of girls aged 15-19 years old in developing countries. Children shouldn't have children. Children should be in school.
- Build up health care systems and break down social barriers. Lack of education or health information for women and girls, violence against women, cultural discrimination, etc.
- Deliver on your promises. And measure your results.