Heading to Ethiopia next week…

Family, friends, fellows, and followers -

This is just a quick post to say that I’m heading to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week to attend and volunteer at the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP). I’m very fortunate that my attendance to the conference is covered through professional development resources through Global Health Corps - thanks, GHC! I’ll be arriving early Monday morning and the conference runs from Tuesday-Friday, 12-15 November. This is the 3rd biennial ICFP and will be co-hosted by The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health & the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, along with many international and national partners.

According to ICFP’s website:

“Ethiopia was selected for the third International Conference because of the country’s strong commitment to family planning and the success they have had in increasing access to family planning, 100% increase in their modern contraceptive prevalence rate (from 15% in 2005 to 29% in 2011) and also the success of their cost effective health extension workers program.  The ICFP is more than a conference; it is a movement and a platform for strategic inflection points in the family planning agenda. The theme for 2013 will be Full Access, Full Choice. An audience of 3,000-4,000 participants is expected including researchers, program managers, policymakers, and representatives from international donor organizations and foundations, including many young people and newly emerging leaders in the field of family planning and reproductive health. “

As a believer in health access as a human right, I support the idea that family planning belongs in any basic package of health services. So, I look forward to learning a lot and being a part of the global dialogue next week. Below is a great infographic released by ICFP highlighting the importance of family planning in development efforts…

ICFP-2013-FP-and-MDGs-Graphic-FINAL

In addition to attending/volunteering at presentations and receptions throughout the week, I also had the opportunity to register for an ICFP Youth Pre-Conference. On Monday evening and Tuesday morning, this event will convene young professionals for interactive sessions with leaders in family planning and skills-building workshops on topics such as social media and advocacy.

And the icing on the cake? Friends, of course! I’ll be part of a small group of Global Health Corps attendees including mostly alumni of the fellowship program. And several of my very close friends from my previous role at FHI 360 will be in attendance. I’m looking forward to a week of learning, exploring Addis, and spending time with friends both old and new. Upon return to Uganda, I’ll be spending almost a full week in Kampala working and doing errands, since it is such a long trek from Kasese. Fingers crossed a work permit is on the way soon! But once I’m settled back at home, I’ll be sure to post about my time in Ethiopia…

(On a side note – Global Health Corps applications are now open! If you’re under 30, speak English, and interested in promoting health equity, apply before January 26th! No prior global health experience is necessary. Feel free to get in touch with me about any questions and please spread the word to anyone you know that may be interested. http://ghcorps.org/fellows/apply/)

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