Gates Foundation invests additional $120-M in family planning
BALI, Indonesia – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest an additional $120 million over the next three years to ensure that 120 million women and girls will have access to modern contraception.
That announcement was made on January 25 via a recorded video message delivered by Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the opening of the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), a global conference that gathered more than 4,000 family planning experts and advocates.
Chris Elias, President of Global Development at the Gates Foundation explained that the additional investment will focus on three key areas: promoting advocacy to keep governments focused on policies and programs that promote family planning; improving access to information and services so women will have wider contraceptive choices; and expanding urban health care programs across Africa and Asia.
“There is a critical need to make a consistent and compelling case for budgets, policies and programs that ensure more women and girls can access contraceptives,” said Elias.
Access to modern contraception
The additional investment is meant to help accelerate attainment of the goals set out at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. In London, the FP2020 global partnership was formed to enable 120 million women and girls from 69 of the world’s poorest countries to access modern contraception by 2020.
The most recent Family Planning 2020 global progress report revealed that in the last three years, there were 24.4 million more women and girls who had access to contraception. (READ: Contraception saves 250,000 lives each year) However, this is 10 million short of the target that FP2020 hoped to achieve by 2015.
According to Elias, funding of family planning initiatives is slowing down and is further hampered by the global economic crisis.
“Funding for family planning programs fell by $20 million and is almost back to 2012 levels. The family planning data and evidence point to concrete steps we can take as a community to get back on track to meet our FP2020 goal,“ said Elias.
Sustainable Development Goals
With one third of the world’s population estimated to be between 10-24 years old and an unprecedented number of young people entering reproductive age, family planning will play a critical role in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – the new development agenda for the next 15 years, adopted in September 2015 at the United Nations General Assembly.
Reducing the global unmet need for family planning services could save 1 in 4 women from deaths related to pregnancy or childbirth and prevent 1.1 million infant deaths each year. (READ: Meeting RH-related SDG targets: 'Work must start from Day 1')
“The Government of Indonesia is working hard to revitalize our family planning program [because] we know that the challenges facing Indonesian families in the future will [only] be greater, especially when it comes to population issues,” said President Joko Widodo during his opening speech at the ICFP.
“In order to sustain economic growth, investments in family planning are absolutely necessary,” added the Indonesian President.
The 2016 ICFP will run from January 25 to 28 and will serve as a platform for global partners to revisit global commitments to family planning and accelerate progress towards the FP2020 goal. – Rappler.com
Screengrab taken from the Gates Foundation's video.