Ahead of the London Family Planning Summit taking place this week, leading medical journal The Lancet has published a Family Planning Series reviewing the evidence for the effects of population and family planning on people’s well-being and the environment.
© Natalie Bailey/IRIN
The series underlines the crucial importance of family planning to the health of women and children and charts a path towards the goal of universal coverage. Opening with an editorial entitled The rebirth of family planning, the series papers examine global population trends and policy options, contraception and health, the connection between demographic change and climate change, the economic dividends of family planning, and how human rights can be deployed to satisfy unmet needs for family planning.
Alongside the papers, research is published reporting the effects of contraceptive use on maternal mortality, a viewpoint investigating the politics of family planning, and comments from country and global leaders.
Writing in a commentary to the series UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin said;
"Evidence of the many benefits of family planning is abundant and compelling, as The Lancet's Family Planning Series makes clear. Family planning empowers women and is essential to their enjoyment of other human rights. It can contribute to the reduction of poverty and hunger and would avert 32% of all maternal deaths and nearly 10% of childhood deaths, if it were available to all who wanted it."
The series appears ahead of the London Summit on Family Planning, hosted by the UK Government, on Wednesday, July 11, 2012. The summit will bring together participants from across the world to mobilise global action supporting the rights of 120 million additional women and girls to access family planning without coercion or discrimination.
The Lancet Series amalgamates the latest thinking underpinning these crucial deliberations, showing how lack of access to family planning carries a huge price, not only in terms of women's and children's health and survival but also in economic terms.
The whole series is available from The Lancet website (requiring a free registration).