This summer we have seen a number of global meetings forced to shift to online formats, leading to innovations in meeting design and compressed agendas. The FP2020 regional focal point workshops (Anglophone Africa and Asia) scheduled to take place in June were no different. Due to the pandemic, the workshops were held virtually, in four-hour sessions, over the course of one week.
Despite such logistical challenges, focal points from every region were deeply engaged, welcoming the opportunity to connect with one another (even if just virtually), and they called our community to action. It was inspiring to hear family planning advocatesfrom both regions detail how their advocacy had been as important as ever as they have worked to ensure that family planning remains a priority essential health service in the pandemic response. They also shared how crucial it has been to align with humanitarian actors as partners in this effort. Family planning champions have helped to stem some of the worst impacts of the pandemic on national health systems by pivoting and innovating quickly. This included Kenya being one of the first countries in the region to develop COVID-19 RMNH Guidelines, scaling up telehealth services in Pakistan, and integrating family planning messaging into daily COVID updates in the Philippines. In every country, family planning advocates have stepped into action.
Focal points also discussed the latest updates on the FP2020’s transition process—with a focus on the recommitment process. The Secretariat also shared updates on the architecture of the next partnership. As shared in the FP2020 newsletter previously, the next partnership will move away from a singular base in Washington DC, and instead function through a regional hub structure, with one hub in North America or Europe and others to come on line in different regions in 2021. More updates will be shared as the transition to the next phase of the partnership continues, and the new partnership will formally launch at ICFP in 2021.