Monday, April 14, 2008

Family Planning Gets Mere Sliver of Aid Pie

Go to IPS original
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations warns that a sharp decline in international funding for reproductive health is threatening global efforts to reduce poverty, improve health and empower women worldwide.

“This is especially evident in the case of funding for family planning where absolute dollar amounts are lower than they were in 1995,” says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a report released here.

If this trend is not reversed, he cautions, it will have “serious implications for the ability of countries to address the unmet need for such services, and could undermine efforts to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce maternal and infant mortality.”

Compounding the problem further, the largest share of population funding is now being diverted to fight HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the U.N. Population (UNFPA), says funding for family planning as a percentage of all population assistance has dropped considerably, from 55 percent in 1995 to 7.0 percent in 2005.

“The victims of this funding gap are poor women in poor countries who cannot exercise their reproductive rights and plan their families,” she told IPS. “It is a serious problem that needs to be urgently addressed.”

Addressing a weeklong meeting of the U.N. Commission on Population and Development (CPD), which concluded Friday, Obaid said there are some 200 million women in the developing world with unmet needs for effective contraception.

The highest number, she said, is in Africa.


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