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MLI collaborator presents at West African family planning conference

February 8, 2011 – February 10, 2011

Family Planning in the context of Population and Development: the Urgency to Act,” a conference held in Burkina Faso in February for francophone West African countries, focused on family planning. The event, which featured an address from Burkina Faso’s President Compaoré at the opening ceremony, was attended by a large delegation from two MLI countries, Mali and Senegal. 

The objective of the conference was to help identify innovative ideas and concrete solutions to reduce by 2015 the maternal mortality rate and level of unmet need for family planning by at least 25% for the whole region of francophone West Africa.  

Cheickna Touré, the deputy director of L’Union Technique de la Mutualité Malienne (UTM) and a close collaborator of MLI on the expansion of community-based health insurance (mutuelles) in Mali, was asked to speak about one innovative approach being used in Mali to advance MDG 5: the inclusion of family planning as part of health insurance programs.

His presentation was met with interest and supported a growing consensus at the meeting that family planning should be systematically integrated into health sector development activities. Including family planning as a covered benefit in a national insurance program could dramatically increase access to this preventive service, reduce the national macro health costs related to maternal health complications, and reduce the micro health costs to individual women and their families.  

At the end of the conference, participants produced a “call to action” for the Governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo, which stressed the need for strong leadership and advocacy at the highest levels of both the government and civil society if any significant advances in achieving MDG5 are expected to be made in francophone West Africa. 

Cheickna Touré’s presentation and a conference summary report by the Malian delegation are available below in both English and French.

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