IN PHOTOS: Family Planning from Addis Ababa to Johannesburg

People the world over come here every day looking for family planning information. Knowing that, I have decided to create a compendium post of sorts about everything I have learned and seen about family planning in my travels to and reporting from sub-Saharan Africa over the past few years.

I first learned about the critical importance of family planning when I covered the London Family Planning Summit a few years ago. Melinda Gates, along with key partners, called on governments and civil society to lay out a strategic plan to provide family planning services and contraceptives to 120 million underserved women in low-and middle-income countries.  Currently there are 222 million women around the world who would like to space or delay their pregnancies.

Read the current Family Planning 2020 Progress Report with full commitments since the 2012 Summit. Undoubtedly there is a long way to go to reach the unmet need for modern contraceptives, but the initial commitments have been promising. $1.3 billion USD in funding for family planning was delivered in 2013 enabling 8.4 more women and girls to have access to modern contraceptives.

At the London Summit, I will remember the commitments read by country representatives. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyeseus, former Minister of Health of Ethiopia, stood out. He said, “Inaction is no longer an option. It’s not what we promise today, but what we do when we get back home.”

Ethiopia Commitments

Below are photos of family planning services and programs as well as modern contraceptives from Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Johannesburg and Dar es Salaam.


Saafe Live Clubs
Safe Love Clubs in Zambia teach girls and boys about the importance of contraceptives and HIV education in a country where women and adolescent girls have few reproductive rights. This Safe Love Club was located in Lusaka.
Lusaka, Zambia
Girls who live on the streets in Lusaka wrote in chalk about what they learned about peer pressure and STIs and their effects on their young lives. They also wrote about the importance of education, school, sports, life skills and church.
Marie Stopes, Lusaka, Zambia
In this clinic in Lusaka, Zambia, Marie Stopes International teaches women and men about family planning services at their clinic as well as via their mobile clinics that reach more populated urban and rural areas in Zambia.
In this medicinal warehouse in Lusaka, Zambia everything from antimalarials to female condoms (seen above) are distributed throughout the country.


This is a family planning kit used at a Marie Stopes International Clinic in Johannesburg showing women their contraceptive options.
Female condom
This health worker at a Marie Stopes International clinic in Johannesburg demonstrated the female condom. She said many women don’t use them or like them, but female condoms have been useful for female sex workers who cannot rely on men to always use a condom or who refuse to do so.



Typically when I visit health posts in Ethiopia I always ask about contraceptive supplies and every time I see there is a ready supply available. Here are some at a health post in Hawassa, Ethiopia from the spring of 2013.
Family Planning - Ethiopia
Family planning kit at a health post in Hawassa, Ethiopia.



PSI trains health workers to teach women about contraceptives through its Familia network. Here a health worker named Mama Blandina teaches a packed room of new mothers about their contraceptive options.
During Mama Blandina’s talk about contraceptives and family planning, she passes around samples for women to examine.
PSI also uses dance groups to teach communities about family planning and contraceptive options. This dance group performed in Dar es Salaam in the fall of 2014.


Jocelyn Pingos
This mother of four decided to ave a tubal ligation because she and her husband said having more children would be cost prohibitive for them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s