$2.6bn for contraception in poor nations
RICH nations, including Australia, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation say they have pledged more than $2.56 billion towards family planning in developing countries at a summit in London.
The aim of the summit was to secure new funding pledges to give an additional 120 million women and girls access to contraception by 2020.
“We exceeded our target,” British International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, told the summit yesterday (Wednesday, July 11) which drew more than 150 leaders from donor and developing countries, international agencies and the private sector.
“Enabling an additional 120 million women in the world’s poorest countries to access and use contraception – something women in the developed world take for granted – will save millions of lives and enable girls and women to determine their own futures,” says Mr Mitchell.
“We should avoid the pitfalls from the past, where controversy compromised the message.
“This is about giving women the ability to choose for themselves.”
The organisers say the efforts will result in 200,000 fewer women dying in pregnancy and childbirth, more than 110 million fewer unintended pregnancies, more than 50 million fewer abortions, and almost three million fewer babies dying in their first year of life.
Melinda Gates, whose foundation will give $560 million over eight years, dismissed concerns expressed by several groups, particularly religious groups, about birth control.
“For the last 30 years we haven’t solved the problem because of the controversy,” she says.
“We are providing access to contraception – it is the best way to prevent abortion,”
Australia, South Korea, Norway and Britain announced at the summit that they are doubling their pledges.