Setting the stage at the ICFP opening ceremony

This post also appears in the LMGforHealth Blog

It is no coincidence that the International Conference on Family Planning is in Ethiopia, a country that has increased the usage of modern methods of contraceptive from 14% in 2005 to 27% in 2011.  “We are having [the conference] in Ethiopia to celebrate the success of Ethiopia,” said Oying Rimon, Deputy Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The success of Ethiopia has been credited to the government leading the process and the community owning it. This is vital, Chris Elias President of Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “Political leaders are stepping up to improve family planning services. This is what we need, this is what we see in Ethiopia.”

More eveidence on Ethiopia not slowing down,  “I am confident that our goal for expanding family planning to our citizens will be realized,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn stated, opening the conference for over 3,000 government officials, international agencies and civil societies to share best practices to improve family planning services around the world.

Opening Ceremony Themes:

Country Ownership:

“Country ownership is the surest way to ensure country’s chart their own courses and overcome their own challenges for development. Ownership reinforces commitment. The principles and actions for country ownership are neither new or hard to understand. What is missing is donor commitment to country ownership. We urge all development partners to move forward to make country ownership a priority so achieving the MDG goals will become a reality, too.”  – Dr. Kesete-birhan Admasu, Minister of Health, Ethiopia

Human Rights:

“We have to link women’s rights to women’s realities.” – Dr. Kesete-birhan Admasu, Minister of Health, Ethiopia

“I want mothers to be saved, their lives need to be protected. What is better than saving a mother?” – Ethiopian Heath Extension Worker

“Family planning is a right, and a woman’s right is a human right.” – Dr. Nkosanzana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Youth:

“This conference is historic because this is the largest contingent of young people ever at a family planning conference. And at about 1.8 billion, today’s youth is the largest generation ever to transition to adulthood.” – Dr. Catherine Bonga Baye, Youth Delegate, Cameroon

“UNFPA must create a youth goal around youth education, their health, their sexuality, their access to contraception, their rights, and their abilities to get jobs.” – Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund

“We always say the youth is the future. But the youth inherit our earth. You might as well start shaping the future now. Get involved now.” – Dr. Nkosanzana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission

Follow @MSHHealthImpact and @LMGforHealth for live tweets from the ICFP