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November 18, 2009

New Project Will Strengthen Voices from the Developing World in Support for Family Planning

On November 18 the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announced the launch of a collaborative project to revitalize the family planning and reproductive health global agenda. With support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the three-year project will empower developing counties to advocate for universal access to reproductive health as a critical component in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in health through increased funding, an improved policy environment and increased visibility for family planning at the local, national and global levels.

The project aims to spread the word to governments, international donors, and multilateral agencies of the urgent need to invest in family planning to reach the 200 million women who wish to delay or end childbearing, but lack access to family planning services and supplies.

"The Bloomberg School of Public Health is proud to be a part of the collaborative effort as we continue on our long-term path and commitment to improving the health and well-being of women throughout the developing world," said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Implemented by a consortium of core partners, including the Bloomberg School; Partners in Population and Development (PPD), an inter-governmental agency of 26 countries representing advocates for population and family planning from the South; the African Women’s Development Fund and the Future’s Group International, the program will be administered in nine countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The consortium will collaborate closely with USAID, other bilateral donors, international and local non-governmental organizations and the private sector in advocating for increased political commitment and resources to create platforms for advocates in the global South to network and organize, enabling organizations to more effectively collaborate and share best practices and lessons learned in the demand for greater access to family planning and reproductive health services.

In addition, the project will help establish a sustainable African Women for Reproductive Health Network to harness the energy, talents, and needs of women at the community level. In past decades, women have become the change agents at the national and global level.

"The women in the Network, like this consortium, understand that if we do not address the unmet need for family planning, the other global health goals of improving maternal, infant, and child deaths and combating infectious disease, will be difficult to achieve by 2015," concluded Duff Gillespie, PhD, professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health.

Media contact for Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Natalie Wood-Wright at 410-614-6029 or nwoodwri@jhsph.edu.