The Population Council's Global Effort to Provide Lifesaving Contraceptives, Information, and Services to 120 Million Women in the Developing World by 2020
On the occasion of the 11 July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, Population Council president Peter J. Donaldson expresses to British Prime Minister David Cameron and Melinda Gates of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation the commitment of the Population Council to helping achieve the goal of addressing unmet need for contraception.
Dear Ms. Gates and Prime Minister Cameron:
Please accept this commitment on behalf of the Population Council in support of the Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's global effort to provide an additional 120 million women in the world's poorest countries with lifesaving contraceptives, information, and services by 2020.
In support of this global effort and the 11 July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the Population Council will continue to promote its work with partners in developed and developing countries in several key areas that will help achieve the goal of addressing the unmet need for contraception. For these efforts, the Population Council will commit approximately $25,000,000 of its funding over the next year and a similar amount per year for the next three to five years.
The Population Council has been improving reproductive health around the world, with a focus on the most vulnerable, for over fifty years through developing and introducing a range of contraceptive technologies and undertaking groundbreaking research to inform policy and program development.
In support of the London Summit on Family Planning, the Population Council commits to:
Increasing access to and availability of family planning and other reproductive health services in countries where people are unable to achieve their reproductive health goals.
Working with governmental and nongovernmental partners, the Population Council will:
- Provide the technical support and tools to our partners to enhance the quality of counseling that women receive to enable them to be better informed about their options and to reduce provider, system, and social biases that may present unnecessary barriers to certain methods.
- Collaborate with governmental and nongovernmental organizations in promoting reliable access to a full range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC), through public and private markets, and in ensuring that products and services are accessible to the poorest women in each country.
- Work with public and private health care delivery systems to integrate a broader range of methods, including LARCs, into their training, counseling, service provision, logistics, and information management.
- Increase access to contraceptive services for women receiving postabortion and postpartum care, including LARCs.
Promoting reproductive rights to reduce inequalities in access to and use of reproductive health services related to wealth, age, and gender.
The Population Council believes that access to all contraceptives, including LARCs, must be based upon the right of all women and men to the full range of reproductive health services and to make an informed choice that best meets their needs. We will:
- Work to ensure equitable access to services by, among other actions, supporting the development and implementation of innovative and sustainable service-delivery and financing mechanisms that reduce barriers to the poorest and vulnerable, including the young and other unmarried individuals.
Strengthening health systems so that contraception can be provided through a range of health services.
The Population Council will:
- Collaborate with national family planning, reproductive health, and women's health program managers to develop competency-based training and on-the-job supervisory systems to ensure that qualified staff, both medical and paramedical, are in a position to provide counseling on a range of methods, including insertion and removal of LARCs.
- Continue our long tradition of gathering and utilizing data to ensure product quality, improved care, and effectiveness of contraceptive methods in resource-limited settings. We will work with scientists and policymakers to review and disseminate these data. Indicators will be developed and deployed that measure the extent to which women have easy access to a range of high-quality contraceptive methods, including LARCs, and the consequent reductions in unintended pregnancies and improvements in maternal, infant, and child health.
- Work with policymakers to increase the priority given to efforts to reduce unintended pregnancies by meeting the unmet need for highly effective LARCs as part of a comprehensive range of method options. This priority should be reflected in financing, procurement, and human resource policies as well as in the registration, introduction, and distribution of contraceptive methods.
Developing and testing the effectiveness, safety, and acceptability of new reproductive health technologies designed to benefit women and men in developing countries.
The Population Council will continue to identify new methods of highly effective LARCs. In the immediate future, we will develop the intravaginal ring (IVR) portfolio, including the (1) progesterone IVR for contraception during lactation; (2) long-acting contraceptive IVR; (3) microbicide IVR; and (4) combined microbicide/contraceptive IVR. We will also:
- Continue to develop products with keen attention to the needs of the end user, the capabilities of national health systems, and the policy environments of the countries in which the products will be introduced.
- Identify key barriers to product use and recommend solutions to overcome these through our robust behavioural research portfolio.
- Seek economic models that encourage companies to produce them and for the private and public sectors to distribute them.
Engaging pharmaceutical companies to license, register, and/or manufacture technologies developed by the Council to expand choice in developing-country markets.
The Population Council will:
- Work with manufacturers, international donors, and national procurement systems to increase the affordability of procuring and supplying new methods of contraception, including LARCs. We will help them to maintain a reliable supply of LARCs within countries to allow use of these methods as desired by women.
These actions will improve the health of women, expand their opportunities, and improve the welfare of their families and communities. Moreover, countries will see the economic dividends of lower fertility and over time a changing age structure with less dependency and greater work force participation. The Population Council commits to furthering these specific recommendations for guaranteeing informed choice and equity, including increased access to highly effective, long-acting, reversible contraception as part of a broader multi-method strategy for improving women's health.
About the Population Council
The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.
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