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A high level advocacy workshop was held on July 4 involving the Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, United Nations Population Fund and other stakeholders.

The advocacy workshop on universal access to reproductive health services and family planning was held as one milestone in the run up to the World Population Day and the London Summit on Family Planning taking place on July 11. The workshop deliberated on such issues as achievements made so far and existing challenges in improving access to family planning, addressing the very high unmet need in the country, and ensuring universal access to reproductive health services.

UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund, is partnering with the Government of UK and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in organizing the upcoming Family Planning Summit in London. The Summit is believed to be an invaluable opportunity to galvanize global support and raise considerable amount of funds for the urgent acceleration of efforts to address unmet need for family planning of an additional 120 million women and girls worldwide. The Summit is expected to point out focus to be made in the next 5 years in 69 countries - one among which is Ethiopia - where unmet need for family planning is highest. 

The advocacy workshop also served as an occasion to deliberate on the theme of the World Population Day this year, "Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services." The World Population Day will mark its 25th anniversary this year. The UN General Assembly designated July 11 to be observed as World Population Day in connection with the world population hitting the 5 billion mark on that day in 1987. The day also marks the adoption of the Population Policy in Ethiopia. In the last 25 years the world population has increased by 2 billion plus.

This year's theme for World Population Day was chosen to re-energize commitments towards universal access to reproductive health and recognize those who provide information, services and supplies. The day will serve as an occasion to recognize the people who made progress possible, those who helped increase access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights - such as midwives, community-based health workers, and others. The occasion will also serve to appreciate individuals who helped shape policies, write laws and allocate budgets.

Presentations were made on the advocacy workshop on issues of universal access to reproductive health services and family planning. Senior government officials and representatives of donors, diplomatic corps, UN agencies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders participated in the workshop.