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London- 11/07/2017 - Policymakers, donors and advocates from around the world gathered at the Family Planning Summit in London, UK, to discuss the 2020 agenda. Top on the list is devising means of reaching the Family Planning goals by 2020, and ensure that more women and girls around the world are able to plan their families and their futures. During the 2012 Family Planning Summit, Uganda was among the 36 developing countries to commit to improve the welfare and health of women and girls. The Government of Uganda committed specifically to increase financial investment for family planning from USD 3.3 million to USD 5 million per year for the next 5 years and to mobilize an additional USD 5 million from donors; To strengthen service delivery; build capacities of health workers; Pass the National Population Council Bill into Law. Following this summit, Uganda has registered a number of achievements in relation to the commitment to improve women health at large. These achievements include; Establishment of the National Population Council by an Act of Parliament to oversee the country’s population, reproductive health and family planning programs. Uganda has also increased investment in Family Planning by Government in the first three years following the summit. The collaboration of government with development partners, CSOs and the private sector has also supported increased Family Planning commodities, especially the Long Acting and Reversible Contraceptives, and increased the number of trained health cadres in their provision. Development of the Costed Implementation Plan for Family Planning is yet another achievement which has registered substantive progress as reflected in the improved Family Planning indicators: unmet need for Family Planning has reduced from 34% to 28%, increase in contraceptive prevalence rate from 30% to 39% and a reduction in fertility rate from 6.2% to 5.4%. Further more, Uganda held the first ever, National Family Planning Conference in 2014 where the President of Uganda launched the country’s Demographic Dividend report for the country and he emphasised that Family Planning is good for the health of the mother, children, welfare of the family and the nation as a whole. While addressing the Family Planning Summit 2017, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng reiterated Uganda’s commitment to improving girls and women health in order to achieve the Family Planning 2020 goals. “Uganda commits to innovative financing, expanding range of contraceptives, integration of Family Planning into other sectors including community development departments, Government youth programmes like the Youth Livelihood Fund and the National Youth Council and reaching the hardest to reach whereby special innovative strategies will focus on those that are not accessing services due to geographical, economic and social barriers” Hon. Aceng said. Uganda is currently facing a high influx of refugees from South Sudan making the nation one of the largest refugee hosting nations in the world. A total of 909, 723 refugees from South Sudan have currently sought refuge in Uganda, out of which 80% are women and young people, many of whom do not have any formal education or access to information and therefore, have limited knowledge of sexual reproductive health issues. Hon. Aceng adds that the Government will strengthen inter-ministerial and partner coordination, ensuring Family Planning is integrated into the refugee response plan through a gender and rights based approach. Family Planning advocates and aid practitioners lauded Uganda’s leadership in the efforts to accelerate Family Planning services. Family planning is a best-buy in global development. Increasing women and girls’ access to Family Planning allows for increased education, create or seize better economic opportunities, and fulfill their full potential benefitting families, communities and nations. While delivering the key note speech, International Development Secretary, Rt. Hon. Priti Patel noted that Family Planning enables women to take control of their futures, so that they can finish their education, gain employment, but also to plan for their families - rather than being trapped in the cycle of grinding poverty and deprivation. During the opening plenary of the Family Planning Summit, Co-chair of the Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would increase its funding for Family Planning by 60%, with an extra $375m over the next four years. About $250m of this money will be used to fund services for teenagers. The Summit brought together leaders from around the world, to work together to remove barriers to family planning services so that voluntary, modern contraception can be offered to many more millions of women in the world’s poorest countries across Africa and Asia.

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