Benin to host the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Ouagadougou Partnership
COTONOU, Benin, 8 December 2015,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/-The international conference, which will be held in Cotonou from December 09-11, 2015 aims to celebrate the significant strides made in facilitating access to family planning methods in the nine countries composing the Ouagadougou Partnership, namely, Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The conference on Population, Development and Family Planning in West Africa: An Urgency for Action, held in Burkina Faso in 2011, marked a turning point in repositioning family planning in francophone West Africa. With the launch of the Ouagadougou Partnership, these nine francophone countries set the common goal to achieve by the end of 2015, one million additional female users of modern contraceptive methods. "Even though this was set to be a considerably ambitious objective in a region that scores the lowest modern contraceptive prevalence rate - around 12% on average at regional level and high maternal mortality rates, we have been able to exceed our initial reach and allow about 1.2 million additional women to have access to modern contraceptive methods." asserted Ms. Fatimata Sy, Executive Director of the Ouagadougou Partnership Coordination Unit.
As the region still requires major attention from donors and the international community for increased financial and technical support in reproductive health, the upcoming meeting is also expected to help shape and influence the role and contributions of family planning in attaining the new Sustainable Development Goals. This 2015 annual meeting is of crucial importance to the Partnership, as governments and their partners will assess the past four years and outline a common vision and future objectives for the 2016-2020 period. Under the theme "The Acceleration Phase", this upcoming period will further insist upon maintaining gains, unlocking existing potential and strengthening high-impact interventions.
With around 200 participants including government representatives from the nine countries, donors, international institutions, civil society organizations, experts and practitioners in the field of population, family planning and reproductive health in attendance, the meeting is expected to voice the perspectives of diverse stakeholders, allow in-depth exchanges on the strategies that will move forward national action plans and finally, stress that the ability to plan one's family and future is a fundamental right and a sound investment. The Partnership will maximize the current momentum and countries' readiness to further its goals in the region and double its initial objective to reach over 2.2 additional users of modern contraceptive methods.