Family planning science and practice lessons from the 2018 International Conference on Family Planning

Jean Christophe Rusatira, Claire Silberg, Alexandria Mickler, Carolina Salmeron, Jean Olivier Twahirwa Rwema, Maia Johnstone, Michelle Martinez, Jose G. Rimon, Linnea Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Since 2009, the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) has served as an opportunity for the global reproductive health community to share FP advances and practice lessons in the areas of research, programming, and advocacy. The key takeaways from all 15 tracks were grouped into six thematic areas: 1) Investing in family planning for a lifetime of returns. FP may yield different health and monetary benefits but continues to face a shortage of funding, although locally owned models provide alternative financing solutions. 2) Addressing inequities in family planning for adolescents, youth, and key populations. Marginalized populations and youth still face challenges in accessing FP. Youth-inclusive and user-centered programming show promise in addressing such challenges. 3) Reproductive justice: Abortion care, family planning, and women's wellbeing. Unsafe abortions tend to be more common among younger, poor, uneducated and rural women. Promising evidence show that providers may effectively shift from unsafe practices of dilation and curettage to safer manual vacuum aspiration or misoprostol. 4) Couple dynamics and family planning decision-making. Couples who share everyday life decision-making are more likely to use contraceptives; couple discordance on childbearing and fertility decisions directly influence women's decisions to covertly use FP. 5) Male involvement in FP programming. Male champions and advocates can successfully promote couple uptake of FP. Gender-transformative programming promotes gender equity and can directly impact behavior change. 6) Breakthroughs in novel contraceptives and systems improvement in family planning. User-centered contraceptive technologies and information systems present an opportunity to facilitate self-care and optimal supply chain management. ICFP 2018 highlighted research advances, implementation science wins, and critical knowledge gaps in global FP access and use. More research is needed to determine the scalability of novel technologies, more effective programming and service delivery models to ensure multisectoral knowledge translation and utilization by policymakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number43
JournalGates Open Research
StatePublished - 2020


  • Contraceptive technology
  • Family planning
  • Gender empowerment
  • Reproductive health
  • Reproductive rights
  • Return on investment
  • Women empowerment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)


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