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XXII FIGO World Congress 2018 Brazil, October 14-19

Contraception: the key to achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) invites you to participate in the XXII FIGO World Congress 2018. Nine thousand professionals, from the most diverse countries and continents, will be in Rio de Janeiro, to exhaustively address all aspects of global women’s health.

The XXII World Congress of FIGO 2018 will have relevant debates about access to modern contraceptives; they are essential for saving lives and for development in all aspects. Long-term investments in the sexual and reproductive health of girls and women can allow them to make important life choices such as when they marry, when they begin sexual activity, and how many children they have and when.

If a woman is able to choose to space her pregnancies, she experiences better health and social outcomes, for herself and her children. Birth spacing allows for substantial reductions in maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality. It gives the woman time to take better care of herself and her children, and potentially to contribute further to society and her own family’s income.

Many of the shameful numbers of maternal deaths are due to unplanned pregnancies that either end up in unsafe abortions or in deterioration of a mother’s health, both leading to death. When pregnancies are planned and spaced using modern contraceptives, then the risk of maternal mortality will drop as evidenced in successful outcomes of Millennium Development Goal 5 when the maternal mortality ratio was cut nearly in half from 1990 levels, and most of the reduction occurring after 2000”. Dr Faysal El-Kak, Executive Board FIGO, Lebanon.

Currently, in low income countries, 885 million women of reproductive age want to avoid a pregnancy. Guttmacher Institute reports that twenty-three million girls aged 15 to 19 years in developing regions have an unmet need for modern contraception and that ‘every year an estimated 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years and 2 million girls aged under 15 years become pregnant’.

Every one of these girls is therefore unlikely to complete her education, making it harder for her to find work, making her more dependant and often more vulnerable to sexual violence and abuse; having an impact upon her health and wellbeing for the rest of her life.

Globally there are 214 million women with an unmet need for contraception. This signals a disconnect between a woman’s desire to plan her pregnancies and her ability to do so. Unmet need can lead to shorter birth-spacing, which has a negative impact on both maternal and newborn health, and can put additional economic strain on a family, perpetuating the poverty cycle”. Dr Anita Makins, Deputy Director, PPIUD Initiative, FIGO

Family planning saves lives and more so in low income countries where contraceptive needs are humungous, and contraceptive prevalence rates are low impacting negatively on maternal and child mortality and morbidity rates. It is within those countries with dire conditions where efforts and resources should be channelled”. Dr Faysal El-Kak, Executive Board FIGO, Lebanon.

Depriving women of contraceptive choice can therefore negatively impact upon their future. Acknowledging this, in 2015, all 193 members of the United Nations committed to a set of 17 ambitious global Sustainable Development Goals, including two unique targets:

SDG 3.7:

By 2030 ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.

SDG 5.6:

By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences

Gender and women’s empowerment are key to achieving the 17 ambitious SDG goals. Goal 5 is fundamental in that regard. Gender equality, education, health care, and ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights all contribute to raising status of women”. Dr Faysal El-Kak, Executive Board FIGO, Lebanon.

Regional perspective

Latin America

As of 2017, there were over 24 million women of reproductive age in Latin America and the Caribbean with an unmet need for contraception. As a result, it is estimated that there are 14 million unintended pregnancies each year. Of these, 46% end in abortion, quite often unsafe abortion because only 3% of countries in the region have broad access to legal abortion.

Sub-Saharan Africa

For many of Africa’s young women, pregnancy and childbirth are neither planned nor wanted, causing a worryingly high fertility rate. According to data reported by the Guttmacher Institute, 21% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa have an unmet need for modern contraception – the highest proportion in the world, In 2017, 38% of pregnancies in women aged 15-49 were unintended and only 56% delivered in a health facility.

However some African countries, such as Kenya, have been making great strides towards the SDGs, with contraceptive use increasing to 6% and leading the Ministry of Health revising Kenya’s family planning targets upwards.

FIGO World Congress 2018, Rio de Janeiro

Next month over 9,000 health professionals; obstetricians and gynaecologists from FIGO’s 130 national member societies alongside midwives, nurses, general practitioners and other specialists working in the field of women’s health and policy and decision makers, NGOs, WHO and UN organisations will gather together in Rio for FIGO World Congress 2018.
FIGO World Congress will facilitate vital discussions around this important area including a panel session from sector experts entitled ‘Contraception: the key to achieving SDGs by 2030’, the African Federation Obstetrics and Gynecology (AFOG) presenting on ‘Sexual and Reproductive health care services in Africa: the past, the present and the future’, WHO presenting on ‘Improving quality of care for maternal and newborn health – measuring women’s experiences’ and Guttmacher Institute presenting on ‘Accelerating progress: Sexual and reproductive health and rights for all’.
The full program can be accessed at www.figo2018.org.

About FIGO

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is a professional organisation that brings together obstetrical and gynecological associations from all over the world.

FIGO’s vision is that women of the world achieve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing throughout their lives, we lead on global programme activities, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.

FIGO advocates on a global stage, especially in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and non-communicable diseases (SDG3). We also work to raise the status of women and enable their active participation to achieve their reproductive and sexual rights, including addressing FGM and gender based violence (SDG5).

We also provide education and training for our Member Societies and build capacities of those from low-resource countries through strengthening leadership, good practice and promotion of policy dialogues.

We are in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and a consultative status with the United Nations (UN).

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