BLOG Developing a Knowledge Agenda at the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) – Colin Dixon

Posted by Share-Net Intl on January 28, 2016 at 6:37 am

Today I took to the Marketplace stage here at the ICFP in Bali, to speak about developing a knowledge agenda for family planning. 4000 people are attending a week of sessions focused on a full range of family planning issues, from vasectomy to climate change.

To make my session as relevant as possible I have spent the past days asking some of the high profile participants what they see as the key knowledge management issues for family planning as we start 2016 and the era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Its not scientific and its not comprehensive but it does give an interesting snap-shot of family planning research and knowledge management priorities. These are summaries of answers, not direct quotes and therefore shouldn’t be used as such.

Kellie Sloan, Director of Family Planning at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: We need more knowledge to understand the inequalities. Where are the populations who are not getting the services and information they need?

Ann Starrs, CEO of the Guttmacher Institute: The HIV epidemic is becoming younger and feminised. We urgently need knowledge on the cost benefits of HIV and SRHR integration and far more focus on measuring and tracking integration.

Julie Bunting, President of the Population Council: We need to disseminate more effectively the knowledge that already exists. We also need to synthesise existing data and extract the wealth of information it contains.

Jenny Tonge of the UK All Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health: We need more knowledge and evidence to make explicit the link between family planning and climate change, food and water security and ensure they are included in climate change discussions.

Brian Perry from FHI 360: More knowledge is needed on what motivates men to become involved in family planning and the barriers that prevent them becoming involved. We need to open up the debate around male contraception.

Beth Scott, DFID: How are Governments, providers and researchers classifying what is a modern method of contraception and what is a traditional method, for example rhythm method and withdrawl? How is this impacting on indicators and figures?

Nomi Fuchs-Montgomery, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: We urgently need to generate evidence on risks and protective factors in early adolescents, especially very young adolescents, that have impact on longer term contraceptive behaviour. We have to overcome the difficult politics and systematically collect data on 10 to 14 year olds.

Karen Hoehn, Independent consultant: Governments must fund research to assess the impact of development financing on SRHR so they can ensure evidence based decision making.

Chelsea Polis, Guttmacher Institute: We urgently need evidence and mapping to show how family planning is linked, and how integration will have positive benefits, to all of the 17 SDGs.

This last point, alongside the discussion about family planning and climate change, have received the most attention here. The indicators for the SDGs are still in development and are unlikely to be approved until September at the earliest. We need to ensure we have a clear family planning knowledge agenda to support these and this conference has kick started the process.