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On July 11th at the Family Planning Summit 2020, Luz Maria De-Regil provided remarks as part of the “Changing the Conversation: Enabling Family Planning for All” panel discussion, in which she announced a partnership between Nutrition International and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, to provide services integrating family planning and nutrition to improve women and adolescent girls’ health.

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I’m honoured to be with you today at this landmark conference to spotlight the urgent issue of scaling up family planning and nutrition –  especially for adolescent girls.

This is a crucial conversation because access to family planning and nutrition matters. It matters because these services directly affect women’s and girl’s futures. It also matters because, when delivered together, family planning and nutrition can exponentially strengthen gender equity, economic development, and poverty alleviation.

Let me share some facts that underscore these linkages:

  • Women and girls are twice as likely to suffer from malnutrition as men and boys.
  • Anaemia affects 300 million adolescent girls and it’s the leading cause of disability in this group.
  • Lack of folic acid, frequently the case in unplanned pregnancy, increases the risk of neural tube defects and newborn mortality and disability.
  • Adolescent pregnancy, and less than two year-space between pregnancies, jeopardizes the health and nutrition of the mother and the baby.

These facts are staggering. Behind each one is an adolescent girl or a woman facing enormous life challenges.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We can break down barriers that prevent women and girls from realizing their right to family planning and nutrition

And today we are breaking down barriers. It is my great pleasure to announce that Nutrition International and UNFPA are joining forces to improve women and adolescent girls’ health by integrating family planning and nutrition services. Today Nutrition International is announcing its FP2020 commitment of $2 million dollars to start changing the game.

Initially, this investment will reach half a million women and girls over two years in Nigeria and Senegal. This partnership has the potential to scale up to reach 15 million women and girls every year. This commitment is made through our Nutrition Leverage and Influence for Transformation –or N-LIFT– a program funded by the Government of Canada.

We’re at a crossroads. This partnership is leading change. But, we all have a stake not only in changing the conversation, but in broadening and deepening it. If we allow ourselves to have unusual conversations – like this one – we can truly change the game for women and adolescent girls.

Thank you!