FP2020 Summit: Family Planning in the Sahel

Ian MatthewsArticle, News

GBCHealth President Nancy Wildfeir-Field joined UNFPA, the UN Deputy Secretary General, and African Ministers of Health on a panel which focused on “Family Planning in the Sahel as Critical Investment for achieving the Demographic Dividend and Poverty Reduction.”

The event highlighted the achievements of the Sahel Women Empowerment and Demographic Dividend (SWEDD) Initiative which has already delivered promising results on women’s empowerment, supply chain improvements, human resources for health, particularly midwifery skills, and contributed to harnessing the demographic dividend.

The event, which took place in London on 10 July, was a lead into the Family Planning Summit the following day, co-organized by UNFPA, DFID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and FP2020. The objective of the Summit was to revitalize the global commitment to rights-based family planning and to commit to more urgent and intensified measures to accelerate progress in the goals of family planning 2020 and those set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

This flagship event brought together donors, NGOs, Ministers of the Sahel and the Lake Chad Basin, and other key stakeholders to share experiences and perspectives on the impact of more women and girls having access to safe, voluntary family planning including modern contraceptives through the successful approach of the SWEDD initiative. Panelists shared insights on how to deal with the root causes of the current youth crisis in the Sahel, to bridge the humanitarian-resilience and development nexus, and to create opportunities for social and economic transformation for the most vulnerable populations.

The event was attended by Mrs. Amina J. Mohamed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, HE Dr. Abdourahmane Diallo, Minister of Health of Guinea (representing the President of the African Union), HE Dr. Nicolas Meda, Minister of Health of Burkina Faso (representing the 6 countries of the SWEDD project, namely Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad), HE Dr. Issac Adewole, Minister of Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (representing the Chad Basin Countries, Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad), Mrs. Sameera Al-Tuwaijri, World Bank Representative, Mr. Ibrahim Lumumba Idi-Issa, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Inter-State Council for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), Ms. Nancy Wildfeir-Field, President of GBCHealth (representing the private sector) and Ms. Natalia Kanem, Acting Executive Director of UNFPA.

Each of these leaders contributed to a robust discussion. Full summaries of which are available here (in French). Highlights include Mr. Mabingue Ngom contextualizing the root causes of the challenges in the region and the importance of family planning to capturing the demographic dividend; Mrs. Amina Mohammad calling for a holistic approach and inviting the security sector to the table; HE Dr. Nicolas Meda citing the tangible results to date of the SWEDD programs; and HE Dr. Isaac Adewole calling for scaling up of successes.

After these contributions, Ms. Nancy Wildfeir-Field sought to contextualize the role of the private sector as a key development partner – investing in areas critical to generating dividends from Africa’s demographic change. Family planning is one of these critical areas. The private sector can play a leading role by:

GBCHealth President Nancy Wildfeir-Field with HE. Abdourahmane Diallo, Minister of Health, Guinea

  • Accelerating progress and removing barriers for women and girls to access SRHR services by helping to generate demand;
  • Reinforcing commodity availability and optimizing supply chains;
  • Training health workers;
  • Advocating for rights-based local and national policies; and
  • Developing and co-funding innovative financial mechanisms to attract new donors.

These interventions ultimately benefit business as they engender a more robust economic environment, provide opportunities for investment in future employees and customers, and reduce systematic risk and volatility.

GBCHealth looks forward to continuing to work with UNFPA and other FP2020 partners to promote early engagement and coordinated actions by the private sector in support of the Strategy 2016-2020.


Ian MatthewsFP2020 Summit: Family Planning in the Sahel