contraceptives
contraceptives

Use of contraceptives helps in prevention of unwanted pregnacy. (File)

Use of contraceptives helps in prevention of unwanted pregnacy. (File)

The announcement came in response to a new report which found that the global community risks falling short of its goal to reach an additional 120 million women and girls with access to contraceptives and family planning services by 2020.

The 2014-2015 progress report by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), a global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide when, and how many children they want to have, shows that FP2020 and its partners must take immediate action to speed up progress.

The Foundation says with five years to go, the global community has a narrow yet critical window of opportunity to bring progress back on track. It states that it is the policy, programme and budget decisions made now that will determine whether we keep our promise to 120 million women.

“Three years ago, the global community set an ambitious goal. More than that, we made a promise. A promise to 120 million women and girls that by 2020 they would have access to family planning services and contraceptives if they wanted it,” Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said in a statement.

“Since we made that promise, millions of unintended pregnancies have been avoided and thousands of lives saved. But the hard truth is, that to keep it, we must do more, and we must act now.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that the additional funding will focus on three priority areas that demonstrate potential for significant progress.

Priority areas

The priority areas are: improving the quality of services and the range of contraceptive options that women receive; reaching the most marginalised with contraceptives and services, particularly the urban poor; and supporting the work of local advocates who are making the case for budgets, policies, and programmes that ensure more women and girls can access contraceptives.

With the largest generation of youth in history about to enter their reproductive years, the Gates Foundation will also invest in understanding the unique needs of young people and the challenges that they face in accessing health services.

“We have it in our power to give every woman, every girl, everywhere the chance to not just survive but thrive; to lead healthy, prosperous lives; to empower them to ultimately transform their lives,” said Melinda Gates.

The Foundation believes that enabling women to make informed decisions about whether and when to have children reduces unintended pregnancies as well as maternal deaths.

FP2020 was founded following the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

Its report details achievements since the landmark 2012 London Summit on Family Planning.

The FP2020 progress report, Commitment to Action 2014-2015, also released Wednesday says more women and girls than ever who want to avoid or delay a pregnancy, 290.6 million, are voluntarily using modern contraceptives in the world’s poorest countries, an increase of 24.4 million from 2012.

The additional 24.4 million women using effective contraceptives, in the past year, averted 80 million unintended pregnancies, 26.8 million unsafe abortions and 111,000 maternal deaths.

JAMES KARUHANGA, The New Times

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