UNITED NATIONS, New York—Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the new Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, has urged the international community to take a giant leap towards universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, by supporting a campaign to put contraceptive choices in 100 million women’s hands.
The success of the campaign, led by the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, would meet the needs of nearly one half of the 215 million women who lack effective family planning. It will also lead to 96 million fewer unintended pregnancies; 54 million fewer abortions; 110,000 fewer maternal deaths and 1.4 million fewer infant deaths in five years. The Campaign brings together stakeholders in public and private sectors in developing and developed nations.
“UNFPA is proud to be a partner of the Hand to Hand Campaign in which millions of women are reaching out”, said Dr. Osotimehin. “We will continue supporting this campaign to put power in the hands of women. Working with other partners, this Campaign can help the world achieve its goal of universal access to reproductive health, including family planning, by 2015.”
“UNFPA is promoting a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health care that includes family planning, skilled assistance at birth, emergency obstetric care and HIV prevention,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “Together, we can meet the needs of women who want to plan and space their births, but lack the information and means to do so.”
UNFPA is calling on people around the world to voice support for a woman’s human right to freely and responsibly determine the number, timing and spacing of her children and to have the means to do so.
“When women and couples can plan their families, and balance work and family life as they desire, we expand equal opportunity,” said Dr. Osotimehin. “When a pregnant woman no longer fears losing her job, and maternity no longer continues to be a source of discrimination in employment, we advance equal rights. When girls are educated and healthy, and can avoid child marriage, unwanted pregnancy and HIV, they can contribute fully to society. These steps will combine to unleash the full potential of half of the world’s population.”