Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths Starts with Family Planning
Last week, the United States Agency for International Development released the 2015 edition of the Acting on the Call: ending preventable child and maternal deaths report. PAI commends the agency for recognizing the vital role family planning plays in “[continuing] to drive down both maternal and child mortality by enabling families to achieve healthy timing and spacing of births.” This report affirms our belief that we must prioritize funding for universal access to reproductive health services, including contraceptive services.
The Acting on the Call report documents the agency’s progress toward saving 15 million children’s lives and 600,000 women’s lives by 2020. To achieve these results, USAID is focusing on 24 countries—primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—where 70 percent of maternal deaths worldwide occur and half of the unmet need for family planning is found.
Acting on the Call credits expansion of access to family planning services as a key factor in countries’ improved health outcomes, citing estimates indicating that the increased use of family planning services to prevent unintended pregnancies leads to decreases in child and maternal death by 25% and 30%, respectively. The report also references research by the Guttmacher Institute noting that although family planning services fall short of need in all developing regions, for every dollar invested in family planning, $1.47 is saved in maternal and newborn health care.
In order to advance quality care and save the lives of women and children, integrated family planning services must be part of the equation. PAI is proud to work with advocates around the globe to strengthen and monitor the quality of family planning programs. We applaud USAID for supporting critical investments in reproductive health services, which enable women, youth, and couples to prevent unintended and high-risk pregnancies and help to achieve the goal of ending preventable child and maternal deaths; and call upon the President to request additional funding for FP/RH for the coming fiscal year to make that goal a reality.
PAI champions policies that put women in charge of their reproductive health. We work with policymakers in Washington and our network of partners in developing countries to remove roadblocks between women and the services and supplies they need. For 50 years, we’ve helped women succeed by upholding their basic rights. To learn more, visit pai.org.