Family planning is a smart investment; Rwanda to host the International Conference on Family planning 2018

4 September 2017
Family planning is a smart investment; Rwanda to host the International Conference on Family planning 2018


Rwanda is one of the family planning success stories of recent history. The first decade of the 2000s brought great achievements: a dramatic rise in the country’s contraceptive prevalence rate for modern methods to 48 per cent in 2015, from 4 percent between 2000 and 2007, and a drop in total fertility rate from 6.1 in 2000 to 4.2 in 2015. This progress was also accompanied by massive achievement in the area of infant mortality rate, which reduced drastically from 107 in 2000 to 32 in 2015.

Mortality for children under five years reduced from 196 in 2000 to 50 death per one thousand life births in 2015, as well as the fall in the maternal mortality from over 1,071 in 2000 to 210 deaths by 100,000 Live Births in 2015.

With support from partners including UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, Rwanda has implemented various strategies in support of family planning.

In recent years, Rwanda has invested in its network of community health workers (CHWs) who sensitize their communities about the impact of population growth and provide condoms, oral contraceptive pills, injectables, and the Standard Days Method.

The country has run communications campaigns to drive demand for family planning and behavior change, and provided trainings on long-acting and permanent contraceptive methods.

Due to the recognition of the spectacular achievements registered in the health sector particularly in family planning and maternal & infant health, Rwanda has been chosen to host the Fifth International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) which is the largest scientific conference in the world devoted to family planning, slated for 12-15 November 2018.

ICFP 2018 will serve as a strategic inflection point for the family planning and reproductive health community worldwide, and Rwanda in particular. 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 Director of Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Mr. Oying Rimon Il highlighted Rwanda is a unique country and is on course to realizing and enhancing their own demographic dividend.

This is because as a country, it has wisely and successfully invested in human capital, especially in health and education of its people and in family planning,” he noted.

Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Representative to Rwanda, said achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, will depend significantly on how well the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people are fulfilled. According to him, catering to their unmet need for family planning is among the most cost-effective investment overall.

 “When women and girls have access to family planning, they are able to complete their education, create or sieze better economic opportunities, and fulfill their full potential. Entire families, communities and the nation in general benefit,”

Despite continued commitment to family planning as a way to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the sustainable development, progress has slowed down.

According to Hon. Dr. Jean Pierre Nyemazi, the Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Health, the government has committed to ensure they scale higher family planning.

We have a goal of achieving 70 per cent of contraceptive uptake. The international conference is going to be one of the resources where strategies can be drawn to reach to the level Rwandans deserve,” he said.

UNFPA is committed to working with the government of Rwanda and Bill & Melinda Gates Institute to ensure that ICFP becomes an additional opportunity to scale up investments in family planning. The ICFP2018 provides an international platform from which Governments, development partners and individuals can make public commitments and be recognized for their achievements infamily planning in attaining the new Sustainable Development Goals.