World must step up contraception funding
Sustainable Population Australia Inc.
Patrons: Hon. Bob Carr, Dr Paul Collins, Prof Tim Flannery, Em Prof Ian Lowe, Dr Mary E White
Youth Ambassador: Ms Bindi Irwin
On the eve of World Population Day (July 11), Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has called for a significant increase in funding for contraception to meet the unmet need of over 200 million women worldwide.
This year, world leaders will meet again in London on World Population Day for the second meeting of the Family Planning Summit. At its first meeting in 2012, leaders affirmed the importance of family planning to women’s empowerment and global prosperity. It aimed to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020.
SPA National President, Dr James Ward, says there has been a welcome drop in women with an unmet need for modern contraception from 225 million to 214 million since the first Summit.
“This drop, however, is only about 10 per cent of what was called for,” says Dr Ward. “We must increase international funding significantly if we are to achieve the aim of reaching an additional 120 million women by 2020.”
Dr Ward deplores the recent reintroduction by the Trump Administration of the Global Gag Rule which essentially bars aid to family planning organisations that offer abortion or abortion counselling. The rule threatens to cripple the provision of all kinds of healthcare to the poorest parts of the world, including 30 African countries.
“According to the US-based Guttmacher Institute, current modern contraceptive use prevents an estimated 307 million unintended pregnancies annually among all women of reproductive age in developing regions,” says Dr Ward. “The health benefits are substantial and in turn prevent tens of thousands of maternal deaths each year.
“Moreover”, he says, “with humanity hurtling towards a population of nearly 10 billion by mid-century (referring to the UN’s medium projections), “we need a shared global vision and urgent action to make sure every additional child on this planet is a wanted child.”
Dr Ward says that the Guttmacher Institute also reports that fully funding both maternal and newborn health care (MNH) and contraception is actually cheaper than MNH alone, because
the cost of preventing an unintended pregnancy through use of modern contraception is far lower than the cost of providing care for an unintended pregnancy.
“On this World Population Day, we must stand up for women and achieve universal access to modern contraception, but particularly in the poorest countries where the need is greatest,” says Dr Ward.
Further information: Dr James Ward, SPA National President
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