Partnership welcomes President Obama's decision to restore US funding for global family planning
27 JANUARY 2009 | GENEVA - The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health commends President Barack Obama for his early decision to restore government funding for US non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which fund global family planning programmes. It also applauds the new administration's promise to work with Congress to restore U.S. funding for UNFPA, the UN Population Fund.
"By taking this decision to restore U.S. funding for global family planning within days of taking office, President Obama has sent a powerful signal about the high priority his administration gives to maternal and child health", said Dr Francisco Songane, Director of the Partnership.
President's Obama order lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for family planning clinics which provide counseling about abortion or abortion services outside the US. The ban, known as the "Mexico City Policy", was initially put in place by President Reagan in 1984, and reinstated in 2001 by President George W. Bush. In lifting the restrictions the new administration noted that they "undermined efforts to promote safe and effective voluntary family planning programs in foreign nations".
"The Partnership and its partners look forward to close cooperation with the new Obama administration to accelerate political priority and financial commitments to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with particular emphasis on Goal 5 on maternal health, which is lagging the furthest behind", added Songane.
One woman dies every minute from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth – or 529 000 deaths a year. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia.
Poor access to contraception and family planning are key risk factors for women in developing nations. Less than 30% of women seeking these services have access to them in the 68 countries which account for 97% of the world's maternal deaths. The lack of family planning services also results in unplanned pregnancies, which some women seek to terminate under dangerous circumstances.
Complications from unsafe abortions are one of the main causes of maternal deaths. They are responsible for 13% of all maternal mortality according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The other major killers of women in pregnancy and childbirth are severe bleeding (25% of deaths), infections (15%) hypertensive disorders in pregnancy or eclampsia (12%) and obstructed labour (8%).