By: NJERI RUGENE
This year’s International Family Planning Conference that was to open Monday in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, has been cancelled due to a volcanic eruption on an Island near the Bali airport.
The airport had been closed for three days, with no certainty of when it would reopen because of the eruption.
In a message to participants, conference organisers said: “We have chosen to postpone the 2015 International Conference on Family Planning in Nusa Dua.
“We have chosen to make this decision today to minimise inconvenience for those who have not yet begun their journey,’’ said Dean Michael Klag of John Hopkins media of Public Health and Oying Rimon and chairman of the conference’s steering committee, after an emergency meeting.
The volcanic ash posed a risk to both flight scheduling and health, the ICFP organisers said, describing the new development as a disappointment for the many who “who have worked to plan the event and all those who had planned to participate in the conference.
A number of airline had to put up in hotels for free participants who were connecting flights to Bali or whose flights had been delayed for long hours.
Most of these were stuck in Hong Kong, Seoul and Dubai.
The ICFP is held after every two years since 2009 provides an opportunity for researchers, scientists, policymakers and advocates to disseminate knowledge and information on family planning and celebrate successes.
The conference also identifies steps towards reaching the goal to enable an additional 120 million women to access voluntary and quality contraception by 2020.
The 2015 ICFP is co-hosted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the John Hopkins media of Public Health and the National Population and Family Planning Board of Indonesia (BKKKN).
A new Family Planning (FP2020) report, which shows an unprecedented number of women and girls are using contraceptives in the world’s poorest countries was to be launched at the conference.
Kenya’s George Alusa Kichamu, who is the director of technical services at the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) was to be one of the speakers at the launch of the report which details achievements made since the landmark 2012 London summit on family planning.
The other speakers were to be Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, United Nation’s Population Fund Director, Beth Schlachter, FP2020 executive director and Her Royal Highness Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan.
Winners of a new award-Global Humanitarian Award for Women’s and Children’s Health had been slated to receive the awards presented by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Ms Melinda French Gates at the opening of the conference.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION