|British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking at the London Summit.|
Faith-based organizations (FBOs) were well represented at last week’s London Summit on Family Planning thanks to the summit organizers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the British government. Ten faith leaders participated and, like most of the delegates, they thought the summit was a smashing success by securing financial commitments to reach an additional 120 million women and girls with voluntary family planning services.
Gary Darmstadt, head of the foundation’s Family Health Division, made clear his belief that FBOs are “critical to family planning” in a post-summit blog, pointing out that FBOs “provide up to 40 percent of the total healthcare in many countries in Africa.” It may be even higher than that in some countries.
“The only way the ambitious goals in child health and family planning can be reached is to mobilize the faith community along with other stakeholders, an ‘all hands-on-deck’ approach,” said Ray Martin, executive director of Christian Connections for International Health (CCIH) . “Often the hardest-to-reach populations in rural areas and the urban poor are the ones most likely to be reachable by FBOs.”