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Devex, September 30, 2013 --- Today marks the seventh annual World Contraception Day — a campaign organized by a coalition of non-governmental, scientific, and medical organizations, which aims to raise awareness about the benefits of universal access to family planning tools. For the most part, Washington supports this cause: the United States has played a leading role in international family planning efforts for more than five decades and has provided roughly half of total donor funding for family planning in foreign countries.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which leads many international family planning efforts, launched its first family planning program in 1965 and has been enabling the distribution of contraceptives in developing countries since 1968. Today, USAID’s family planning programs operate in more than 50 countries around the world and have helped millions of women access the life-saving contraceptives they need to plan their pregnancies.
Washington has much to gain from investing in international family planning programs. In their 2012 report,Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Guttmacher Institute estimated that adequate access to contraceptives in developing countries would prevent 54 million unintended pregnancies, 26 million abortions (16 million of which would be unsafe), 21 million unplanned births, and 7 million miscarriages.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday the provision of $10 million in funding for a new U.S. initiative, Safe from the Start, to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies worldwide. Secretary Kerry emphasized that in the face of conflict and disaster, we should strive to protect women and girls from sexual assault and other violence.
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday announced a provision of $10 million to fund a new initiative to prevent and respond to gender-based violence in humanitarian emergencies worldwide. While announcing the new initiative labeled 'Safe from the Start,' Secretary Kerry emphasized that all members of the international community must strive to protect women and girls from sexual assault and other violence in the face of conflict and disaster.
The seeds of success in every nation on earth are best planted in women and children. If we provide the young with a strong foundation, we can leave behind a legacy substantially greater than most are able to bequeath. As for the women, the old adage that you invest in a woman, you invest in a generation, still rings true today.
Zambia's permanent representative to the UN has urged the country's government to allocate more funding towards maternal and newborn health. According to the Times of Zambia, Mwaba Kasese-Bota said sexual and reproductive health services were "cardinal" to reducing maternal and infant mortality across Africa.
Gender equality and reproductive health are indispensable to sustainable development, and must be a key part of the post-2015 development agenda, participants said at a United Nations-organized regional conference in Thailand. After days of intense discussions, nearly 500 delegates, including ministers and senior officials from 47 countries, adopted a comprehensive Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development.
Women and girls are disproportionately harmed in armed conflict. They are targets of sexual violence and face greater work burdens after losing their partners to war. And yet they are more likely to be sidelined from peace-building and conflict resolution efforts. So how is the U.S. Agency for International Development dealing with this problem?
International health programs have greatly reduced death and sickness worldwide over the past two decades but there is still a long way to go. The United Nations General Assembly will meet later this month to assess progress — impressive in some areas, halting in others — toward achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted in 2000 and are supposed to be reached by the end of 2015.
Last August, Sudan’s Federal Ministry of Health together with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched Sudan's National Acceleration Plan for Maternal and Child Health. Sudan is the first of the 10 high-burden countries in the Region to launch an acceleration plan on maternal and child health, in line with the commitment expressed in the Dubai Declaration, adopted in January 2013.
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