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Recently, I was in Indonesia for the International Conference on Promoting Family Planning and Maternal Health for Poverty Alleviation.*I know that most of us working in reproductive health, especially family planning, fervently agree that ensuring universal access to care and services needs additional resources and attention. But I was particularly encouraged and energized to hear about progress and to see the renewed engagement from countries in the South. In particular what caught my attention was the bold vision of Partners for Population and Development to become the leading “inter-governmental organization driving the global agenda for reproductive health and population to attain sustainable development” by 2014. With the right kind of support and technical assistance, I believe this vision will become a reality.
Partners for Population and Development, an associate partner on the IntraHealth-led CapacityPlus project, represents an alliance of 25 countries,** which together cover 57% of the world’s population. Six of the world’s most-populated nations—Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan—are key players in this alliance. Recently, China, India, and South Africa pledged to increase their support to the alliance. Notably, India doubled its contribution, and Goulam Nabil Hasam, India’s minister of health and the chair of the Partners for Population and Development Executive Committee, has demonstrated unwavering commitment to the alliance and to South–to-South collaborations. India also has increased its national health budget, established programs like the Rural Health Mission, and pursued forward-thinking initiatives like the frontline health worker strategies that may offer successful models for other developing countries.
In these collaborative examples and real financial commitments, I see the tremendous potential to make measurable progress toward achieving the global health agenda. This includes the objectives the global community committed to with the Millennium Development Goals and also the seven core principles of the United States’ Global Health Initiative such as country ownership, women- and girl-centered approaches, sustainability through health systems strengthening, and strategic coordination and integration.
* This conference was organized by Partners for Population and Development, the National Family Planning Coordination Board (BkkbN), and the Government of Indonesia.
**PPD member countries include Bangladesh, Benin, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
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