Melinda Gates Announces Commitment to Family Planning

This week, Melinda Gates announced that family planning will be one of her top priorities this year and into the future. This was met with cheers and excitement by more than 2,500 people at the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal.

As a leader in international philanthropy, when Melinda Gates speaks, people listen. And this couldn’t be a more critical time. International family planning has proven to be a great investment, with strong successes like the newly announced doubling in contraceptive use in Ethiopia. Yet, family planning remains under-funded and under constant threat by potential budget cuts in the United States– one of the largest international family planning donors.

Funding family planning should not be controversial. Not only is it a basic human right, it is one of the best preventative health interventions, leading to healthier women, children and communities. It also has incredible social impact. When women are able to make decisions about when and how many children to have, their lives are transformed. As Melinda said, “I see solid proof that family planning is top of mind when I visit women in India, or Kenya, or Malawi. They care a lot about their children. More than anything in the world, they strive to be able to feed them and educate them. And they tell me over and over again that planning their family is the best way to achieve their goals.”

This week’s inspiring conference, filled with international leaders, in combination with Melinda’s rousing support, makes me hopeful that we can move family planning forward. Melinda said, “We have momentum now, and it is time for our community to push harder. Governments should provide all women with access to family planning tools that are safe and effective and that meet the needs of all women.”

We know what it takes to reach women the world over. That was clear by the thousands of health professionals who presented innovative strategies this week in Dakar. Now we just need more commitments like Melinda’s by governments and other international funders. Together, we can ensure we meet the needs of all women who want, but lack access to family planning.

Via video, she said, “over the past several years, I have learned that small investments in family planning pay huge dividends for women, their families, and whole nations. Looking ahead, I plan to spend a great deal of my time advocating for the 215 million women who don’t want to have a child, but can’t access modern contraceptives.”

See the exciting conversations from the International Conference on Family Planning by following #ICFP2011.


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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

good news

pam w.
pam w6 years ago

Polly's comment indicates a cynical slant....and what's wrong with Melinda Gates supporting the most important issue in the world?

Human overpopulation is the root cause of every problem on the planet!

@Rob & MUST have your tongues firmly in cheek, suggesting that Muslims curb their populations. Really! Silly you! :-)

Rob and Jay B.
Jay S6 years ago

And none to soon too! Good for her. Overpopulation is the number one cause of all of our environmental problems - pollution, overcrowding, deforestation, water shortages, mass extinctions of other species that have as much right to life on this planet as we do, loss of habitat for many other sentient beings like elephants, gorillas etc, due to the burgeoning human population taking more and more land for crops to feed their irresponsibly large families.

Now we'll see if the Islamic-ruled countries will join in reducing the number of children, as they have some of the highest birth rates in the world - unsustainable and endangering us all - while birthrates in the developed West have fallen greatly. For example, the bid Laden family has 54 children! from papa bin Laden's 15 wives in total. Polygamy must be stopped too, as this contributes to excess children, and among poorer people these children can't be cared for properly - adequately fed, clothed, educated or given good health care. That is a crime against children.

Education is key to reducing the number of children and is needed in Asia and Africa as well. Latin America birth rates are already falling as their freedom and education improve. We must act quickly, so we wish Mrs. Gates every success. We only hope it isn't too late already.

Polly T.
polly Tickle6 years ago

"Family planning tool" = vaccines = profit $$

Dave C.
David C6 years ago

good for Mrs. Gates....hopeful.....

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez6 years ago

thanks for sharing!

Roger Monk
Past Member 6 years ago

Very good news. I'm sure we all welcome this.

Dianne Prang
Dianne Prang6 years ago

I am smiling over this wondrous plan in light of reading recent news regarding political views on abortion in USA as to when a human being is considered a human being with rights within the womb, hence making contraceptives evil to pro lifers.
What we wish for in poorer countries regarding family planning is being challenged in USA by certain political figures dabating abortion and the use of contraceptives.
This is so very hypocritical and yet I am sure the Gates will have the blessings of all political figures. So, what is wrong about the 'US & THEM' approach to family planning?
Oh, I get it....lets make more babies here and encourage effective family planning elsewhere.
Let us reflect seriously on women's rights EVERYWHERE. This is a sure and steady way to fix some major wrongs to women in this world of ours.

John M.
John M.6 years ago

Education is a major requirement, along with use of the word NO, and respecting it.Or learning when NO prevails. Thank you for the article...

Betsy M.
Betsy M6 years ago

Improved family planning has lots of repercussions. Less poverty, more "food security", more equality, better health for women and children. I am glad to see it get this attention.