Delegates attending the 2013 International Conference on Family Planning in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Tuesday recognized Malawi President Joyce Banda as one of the great leaders of Africa that has committed herself to ensuring that no woman dies during childbirth.
The organizers of the conference commended President Banda for her focus on issues pertaining to maternal health and family planning and her role in working with chiefs on community mobilization through the safe motherhood initiative which they said has been successful and revolutionary.
In a video message played at the conference Banda reiterated her commitment to girls’ education, ending early marriages and economic empowerment of women and youth.
She called for the political will of leaders across the globe to eliminating early marriages and harmful practices that make the girl child vulnerable.
“Our girls must stay in school and they should not marry early as this puts them in danger of complications during childbirth,” she said.
In his key note address the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hilemariam Desalegn said that Ethiopia was chosen to host the conference in recognition to his government’s commitment to family planning through a successful and cost effective health extension programme which engages community health workers to expand access to health care in rural areas.
The Prime Minister said whilst there were still some challenges he was optimistic that another six million women in Ethiopia will have full access and full choice in family planning in the next few years.
The conference will cover a range of topics including, family planning, contraceptive financing, sustainable development in family planning, abortion, technology and contraceptives.
The 3 day conference which ends Friday has been organized with the Johns Hopkins University, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and various strategic partners committed to family planning.