Living in the United States we take for granted access to birth control, but many women in the developing world lack the information and services they need to control their fertility. Sunday marked World Contraception Day, a day observed every year to highlight the world’s unmet need for contraceptives.
This year’s World Contraception Day coincided with a new international push to expand family planning services. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N.’s Secretary General, last week unveiled a “Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health” when world leaders met in New York to renew their commitment to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. The U.N. unveiled a $40 billion package of pledged support for programs aimed at improving the health of women and children in the developing world. The U.N. strategy document outlines the commitments and interventions needed to save over 16 million children’s lives, prevent 33 million unwanted pregnancies, and 74,000 deaths of women from pregnancy and childbirth complications.
Also last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.K. Deputy Prime Minister, the Australian Foreign Minister, and Melinda Gates pledged a five-year public/private global alliance to contribute to the goal of reducing the unmet need for family planning by 100 million women. The Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition has a new campaign aimed at fulfilling that commitment. Three different working groups are collaborating on a new developed work plan. For more information visit www.rhsupplies.org.
In support of these and other efforts aimed at expanding family planning and contraceptive services, the Population Institute will be working with other organizations to launch a new grassroots campaign. Keep checking our website for more details.