214m women don’t use modern family planning methods: Patel

ISLAMABAD - British Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel on Tuesday said that there were still 214 million women around the world who do not want to get pregnant but also do not use modern methods of family planning.

Speaking at a Family Planning Summit in London, she said, “It’s truly astonishing that in today’s world there are still 214 million women around the world who do not want to get pregnant, but who are not currently using modern methods of family planning.”

The London Family Planning Summit was co-hosted by Priti Patel, Melinda Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Natalia Kanem, UN Population Fund.

The summit focused on practical measures to reduce costs and increase availability for the millions of women who want contraception, but cannot afford or get hold of it, said a statement released by the British High Commission here.

At the Family Planning Summit, Patel set out an increased support package - boosting and extending the UK contribution until 2022 - to provide voluntary, modern family planning to women in the developing countries across Africa and Asia.

In her keynote speech at the London Summit, Patel highlighted the UK’s global leadership in responding to the urgent need for voluntary family planning.

She said that the new UK aid support would provide 20 million women with voluntary contraception, change the lives of six million women by allowing them to avoid unintended pregnancies and prevent the trauma of 75,000 still births.

“But this isn’t a job for the UK alone, and that’s why at this global summit governments from around the world have come together to make commitments on family planning to address the long-term need and unsustainable population growth,” she added.

The provincial governments of Pakistan also attended the London summit.

Pakistan pledged to reach 6.7 million additional people, [3.4 million already reported and an additional 3.3 million to be added] achieving a contraceptive prevalence rate of 50 per cent by 2020.

This commitment will be achieved through additional resources, raising the per capita expenditure on FP to $2.50, and a programmatic refocus to address the information and service needs of men and young people and introducing safe and long acting reversible methods through task sharing.

A satellite event was also held in Islamabad ahead of the summit.

Health Minister Saira Afzal Tarar, DFID Deputy Head Judith Herbertson, Country Representative UNFPA Hassan Mohtashami and Population Council Country Director Dr Zeba Sathar were in attendance.

DFID Deputy Head Judith Herbertson, while speaking at the event said: “The government is particularly emphasising the importance of the census for population planning and economic management; and we applaud the completion of the census and the associated ambition. If by 2020 Pakistan’s target of 50 per cent contraceptive use is reached, it will be a huge stride forward for individuals, families and the country. And will set Pakistan on the road to achieving reproductive health services for all by 2030 as set out in the Sustainable Development Goals.”

There are 214 million women around the world, who despite not wanting to get pregnant, aren’t using modern contraception.

Progress has been made globally to reach more women with family planning services, but more needs to be done.

Voluntary family planning saves lives by enabling women to plan, and have fewer, pregnancies – reducing their risk of death through unsafe childbirth.

This risk is very high in the world’s poorest countries, especially for adolescents.

The UK’s total package of support until 2022 will annually help save the lives of over 6,000 women by preventing maternal deaths – that is one woman every 90 minutes, said the statement.

It will support 20 million women to receive voluntary contraceptives through family planning services.

The aid will help avert six million unintended pregnancies and help prevent the trauma of 75,000 stillbirths and nearly 44,000 new-born deaths.

The UK put family planning on the international agenda with the inaugural 2012 Family Planning Summit where a goal was established to help 120 million additional women and girls use modern, voluntary family planning by 2020.

Britain is the second largest bilateral donor of family planning in the world.

Since the 2012 summit, the UK has helped nearly 8.5 million additional women to access modern methods of contraception, the statement said.

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