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Urban FP Fellows at the International Conference on Urban Health (ICUH)

Xiamen, China 2-8 November 2019 


The International Conference on Urban Health organized by the International Society for Urban Health in Xiamen, China 6-8 November 2019 provided an excellent opportunity for the Urban Family Planning fellows to present some of their preliminary research findings and for the IUSSP Panel on Family Planning, Fertility and Urban Development to raise awareness of the contributions of family planning to urban welfare to an audience of Urban Health professionals. The panel organized two pre-formed panel sessions during the conference as well as a pre-conference workshop for the fellows. 


The first panel session (see programme below) examined the reasons family planning issues have been neglected in urban health research, and the failure of urban health to become a global political priority. The fellows along with researchers from African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) provided case studies from their research in Uganda, Kenya and Guinea to illustrate the barriers the urban poor face in accessing family planning services.  Mukesh Sharma of TCI described how city governments in India participating in The Challenge Initiative are literally “buying in” to urban family planning services with their own funds.


The second session (see programme below) overviewed urbanization trends and recent research findings on urban family planning, and participants discussed the neglect of family planning in urban research and key knowledge gaps that challenge the creation of effective urban health systems. Fellows provided case studies from Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo linking family planning and fertility to urban development.  Leiwen Jiang (Population Council and Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI), Shanghai University) provided an assessment of the health needs of rural-urban migrants under plausible urbanization trends.  



In addition to participating in the conference, the fellows also participated in a pre-conference workshop on policy communication with trainers from APHRC.  Lynette Kamau and Eunice Kilonzo worked with the fellows to transform their PowerPoint presentations from detailed academic slides of data results and analysis to more concise and visual presentations of the key policy relevant points of their research.  The transformations were especially welcome at the ICUH were many of those in the audience would be from other disciplines. 


The panel is sponsored by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) under a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at supporting research and policy engagement on fertility and family planning in urban development.


Panel 1 - Research and action on addressing family planning and reproductive health in urban health care systems

Moderator:  Judith F. Helzner, Project Coordinator, IUSSP Programme on Urban Family Planning and Fertility


  • Why have family planning issues been neglected in urban health research, and why has urban health not become a global political priority? (presentation to be made using a prerecorded video) Trudy Harpham, co-chair, Scientific Panel, IUSSP Programme on Urban Family Planning and Fertility 
  • Understanding Barriers and Enablers to Family Planning Use Among Urban Adolescents and Youth in Conakry, Guinea, Alex Delamou, IUSSP Fellow 
  • Health systems and the family planning land scape among the urban poor in Kira Municipality, Wakiso district, Uganda. Moses Tetui, IUSSP Fellow.
  • The Challenge Initiative for healthy cities, India – A “business unusual” approach activates existing service delivery models to identify and serve urban poor with their desired quality family planning services in 31 cities of India. Mukesh Sharma, Director/Chief of Party, The Challenge Initiative
  • Change and continuities in family planning among the urban poor in Nairobi slums. Boniface Ushie and Blessing Mberu, African Population and Health Research Center



Panel 2 - Policy and governance approaches to considering family planning and fertility in urban health

Moderator: Blessing Mberu, Senior Research Scientist and Head of Urbanization and Wellbeing Program, African Population and Health Research Center; Executive Board member, ISUH


  • Urbanization, health trends, family planning research and knowledge priorities for the global South. James Duminy, IUSSP Post-Doc Fellow.
  • Assessing the effect of fertility on household food security and child malnutrition outcomes in urban Nigeria. Nkechi Owoo, IUSSP Fellow.
  • Understanding the heterogeneity of family planning outcomes among urban population in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Pierre Akilimali, IUSSP Fellow.
  • Assessing health needs of rural-urban migrants under plausible urbanization trends Leiwen Jiang, Population Council and Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI), Shanghai University.