HP+ supporting Malawi's FP2020 goals
July 28. 2017
On July 11, policymakers, donors, and advocates from around the world gathered at the Family Planning Summit in London to discuss efforts to reach Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) goals and ensure that more women and girls around the world are able to plan their families and their futures. The summit came five years after the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, which brought together 69 priority countries and led to the creation of the FP2020 partnership. Since then, 38 countries, including Malawi, have made commitments to family planning.
Prior to the summit, the Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, in collaboration with the government of Malawi, DFID, UNFPA, and other civil society organizations, held a high-level meeting in Lilongwe to brief the media and discuss Malawi's progress on its FP2020 commitments, which aim to increase the country's contraceptive prevalence rate to 60% by 2020, with a focus on those who are 15–24 years of age. The country's commitments include:
- Developing a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health program for young people
- Increasing coverage of services through the expansion of public/private partnerships
- Increasing community participation in family planning services through initiatives like the Traditional Chiefs Committee
- Strengthening forecasting and data management for effective supply chain operation
Olive Mtema, HP+ country director, commended the efforts of the government and partners in working toward achieving the FP2020 goals in Malawi. However, she was quick to observe the need to further accelerate efforts in order to fully meet the target goals by 2020.
"In recent years, Malawi has made tremendous progress toward expanding access to family planning—but our work is far from done. Women, and in particular young people, face obstacles to accessing family planning services and information—from stigma, cultural barriers, and lack of comprehensive information. With 2020 just around the corner, leaders in Malawi through the renewed/revised commitments made in 2017 must accelerate their effort to achieve their FP2020 commitments and ensure that more women and girls—from Chitipa to Nsanje—have access to family planning."
She added that HP+ will continue supporting government efforts in improving the policy environment for addressing population growth, promoting family planning, and preventing and responding to HIV.
In her remarks, Jen Marshall, head of DFID in Malawi, highlighted the fact that family planning is a best buy in global development. When women and girls have access to family planning, they are able to complete their education, create or seize better economic opportunities, and fulfill their full potential. In short, entire families, communities, and nations benefit.
"Expanding access to voluntary, modern contraception and family planning programs is one of the most cost-effective ways to break the cycle of poverty. It empowers people to plan their futures and reach their fullest potential. It has an important effect on reducing population growth and population pressure on land, services, and other resources."
Senior government officials from Malawi attended the London Summit, as did members of local civil society organizations (Banja La Mtsogolo and Family Planning Association of Malawi). The 2017 Family Planning Summit will help sharpen Malawi's focus on lessons learned and proven solutions, as well as acceleration toward achieving of the FP2020 goals. Progress will be achieved by broadening and deepening the network of partners needed to bring local actions and solutions to scale—particularly for populations that have traditionally been left behind, such as adolescents and youth and women and girls in humanitarian situations.