International Development Secretary Priti Patel said recently that it’s truly astonishing that in today’s world there are still 214 million women around the world who do not want to get pregnant, but who are not currently using modern methods of family planning.
Patel announced on Tuesday 11 July, at the Global Family Planning Summit in London, UK, that the UK will save the life of one woman every 90 minutes through its global leadership in supporting modern, voluntary family planning.
The London Summit was co-hosted by Ms Patel, Melinda Gates (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) and Natalia Kanem (UN Population Fund – UNFPA), and will look at practical measures to reduce costs and increase availability for the millions of women who want contraception, but can’t afford it or get hold of it.
Melinda Gates also announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would increase its funding for family planning by 60%, with an extra $375m over the next four years. About $250m of this money will be used to fund services for teenagers.
In her key note speech, Ms Patel will highlight the UK’s global leadership in responding to the urgent need for voluntary family planning; the innovative technology being used to reach women in the poorest communities across Asia and Africa and call on others – including businesses – to do more.
Today there are 214 million women around the world, who despite not wanting to get pregnant, aren’t using modern contraception. Progress has been made globally to reach more women with family planning services, but more needs to be done.
Patel said voluntary family planning saves lives by enabling women to plan, and have fewer, pregnancies – reducing their risk of death through unsafe childbirth. This risk is very high in the world’s poorest countries, especially for adolescents.
Ms Patel set out an increased support package – boosting and extending the UK contribution until 2022 – to provide voluntary, modern family planning to women in the world’s poorest countries across Africa and Asia.
The support package includes saving the lives of over 6,000 women by preventing maternal deaths – that’s one woman every 90 minutes, support nearly 20 million women to receive voluntary contraceptives through family planning services, help avert 6 million unintended pregnancies, and help prevent the trauma of 75,000 stillbirths and nearly 44,000 new-born deaths.
Ms Patel said Africa’s population is rising to unsustainable levels, with Sub-Saharan Africa passing the one billion mark this year, adding that giving people access to voluntary family planning helps slow population growth and makes real economic sense. For every £1 spent, governments can save over £4 which”