London family planning summit 'must be about enabling women to choose'
Published on June 22, 2012 at 11:12 AM
"As the London family planning summit looms closer, the debate begins over how much money is needed, what it should pay for and whether the fundamentally important issues of women's reproductive rights will be addressed," Sarah Boseley, health editor of the Guardian, writes in her "Global Health Blog." Highlighting a new report from the Guttmacher Institute, which "assesses the scale of the unmet need for contraception," she writes, "This report puts numbers and dollars into the frame ahead of the summit where the [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation], [Department for International Development (DfID)], and others will be hoping big fat money pledges will be made, in the same way that the vaccines summit in London attracted massive donations -- more money was raised than was hoped for."
Boseley discusses the figures presented in the report, writing, "Meeting the total need for contraception would cost double current spending -- $8.1 billion, says the report," but "that would also more than double the savings from unwanted pregnancies to a total of $11.3 billion," or "$1.40 for every dollar spent." She quotes Sharon Camp of the Guttmacher Institute, who said, "There are programmatic issues beyond contraceptive supplies that need attention if we are going to be successful in meeting the goals of the summit," and highlights "a need for new forms for contraception." Boseley concludes, "This must be about enabling women to choose, overcoming all sorts of barriers to having as large or small a family as they want, from ensuring there is a well-stocked family planning clinic nearby to being free of social, cultural and religious pressures either for or against more babies. It's a huge task" (6/20).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.