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Rwanda, a family planning success story country to host 2018 international conference on family planning

April 22, 2017

By Wallace Mawire

Rwanda, one of the family planning success stories of recent
history is set to host the 5th International Conference on Family Planning
(ICFP) in Kigali on 12 to 15 November, 2018.

The first decade of the 2000s saw great achievements, a dramatic rise in
Rwanda’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, it is reported.

The announcement of Rwanda hosting the conference was made by the Bill
and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health and the
Ministry of Health of the Republic of Rwanda, the conference co-hosts. The
ICFP will be held at the state-of-the-art Kigali Convention Centre, which
in the past has hosted the 27th African Union Summit and other high-level
meetings.

The ICFP is held biennially, each time in a different host country, and
remains the largest scientific conference on reproductive health and family
planning. The last ICFP, held in Indonesia in 2016, attracted over 3,500
delegates and participants from about 100 countries.

“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 ground breaking 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 realize
this goal.”

“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.”

Held biennially since 2009, the ICFP serves 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,
organizations and individuals can make public commitments to family
planning, and can be recognized for their achievements. Dozens of side
events are organized around the conference by many institutions and groups
from around the world.

The previous conferences were held in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, in 2016; Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2013; Dakar, Senegal, in 2011; and Kampala, Uganda, in
2009.

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