Visit International Conference on Family Planning In November of 2013 the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Ministry of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health hosted the third International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) at the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. Over 3,600 researchers, program implementers, policymakers, advocates, youth leaders, media, and representatives of local and international organizations from 110 countries came together to support the goal of providing all women “Full Access, Full Choice” to life-saving family planning information, supplies and services. As Melinda French Gates said at the conference, “Millions of women are fighting-- courageous women who are fighting for themselves and their families because they know for their families it is a matter of life versus death. Let’s make sure, let’s make sure their courage counts. Let’s fight with them, as hard as we can, and for as long as it takes.”
The conference lived up to Melinda’s wishes and served as a time to rally positive energy for the cause with a full program including an opening reception, daily plenaries, multiple interactive skill-building sessions, panel presentations, poster sessions, a policymaker forum and an exhibition area. In total, there were 681 oral presentations in 179 sessions and 276 poster presentations. President Ron Daniels and Dean Michael Klag as well has hundreds of current students and alumni from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health were in attendance.
Nearly 200 national and international journalists attended the conference, and over 225 original articles have been published as a result of the media campaign. In addition, there were many satellite events including receptions, meetings, and site visits to Ethiopian Health Extension Workers’ clinics.
Notably, the youth presence at the conference was vibrant, with more than 350 youth ages 18-25 from over 30 countries. Youth submitted video applications to apply to speak at the conference and youth leaders were represented in all major plenaries and as moderators in sessions.
The conference was a celebration of the success achieved in Family Planning thus far and the first ever EXCELL awards were given at three levels: the individual/team, organization/facility, and country levels. The winners at each level were chosen out of 100 nominees.
The ICFP is more than a conference; it is a movement and a platform for strategic inflection points in the family planning agenda. We look forward to the 2015 ICFP as the momentum continues to grow.