In Summary
  • The Programme of Action endorsed and adopted at the historic International Conference and Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo has had a tremendous effect in transforming the lives of women and girls in developing countries.
  • The Programme was supposed to have been fully implemented by all countries by 2014. Yet five years later, many women especially in Africa still face economic, social and institutional barriers to services.
  • A quarter century later, the international community will again converge, this time in Nairobi, to renew, revitalise the commitments made at the inaugural conference.
  • The goal of universal sexual and reproductive health care, including family planning for all, is central to the Programme of Action.

In 1994 the International Conference and Population and Development (ICPD) was hosted in Cairo by the Government of Egypt. Twenty-five years later, Kenya is ready to convene the ICPD “Nairobi Summit” in November 2019.

The Programme of Action endorsed and adopted at the historic Conference in Cairo has had a tremendous effect in transforming the lives of women and girls in developing countries. A quarter century later, the international community will again converge, this time in Nairobi, to renew, revitalise the commitments made at the inaugural conference.

The goal of universal sexual and reproductive health care, including family planning for all, is central to the Programme of Action. Reaching this goal is vital, not only for the health and well-being of women and girls everywhere, but also for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the ones related to ending poverty, securing good health, realising gender equality and achieving sustainable communities. Urgent and sustained efforts to realise sexual and reproductive health are therefore crucial.

Robust political will, backed by sustainable financial commitment, have seen Kenya record significant gains in advancing the health of women and mothers. Maternal mortality rates are down from 400 per 100,000 live births to 362 per 100,000 within the last few years. More women are giving birth under professional care; more midwives are being trained and deployed.

Twenty-five years ago, only about one in four married women used a modern contraceptive. Today about two in three do. In 1994, the average Kenyan woman had close to six children; today, she has fewer than four.

GAPS

The Programme of Action was supposed to have been fully implemented by all countries by 2014. Yet five years later, many women especially in Africa still face economic, social and institutional barriers to services. Gaps are particularly pronounced among the poor and in rural areas.

Every year in Kenya, more than 5,000 women and adolescents die from pregnancy and birth-related complications while nearly 200,000 suffer disabilities, including 3,000 cases of obstetric fistula. According to the World Health Organization, pregnancy and childbirth complications are the leading causes of death among 15-to-19-year-old girls globally. In Kenya, as many as one in seven women want to prevent a pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive.

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