Gates Foundation, U.K. Government Expected To Announce Additional Funding For Family Planning At London Summit

The U.K. Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with UNFPA and other partners on Wednesday, July 11, are hosting the London Summit on Family Planning, which aims “to raise $4 billion to expand access to contraception for 120 million women in the developing world by 2020,” according to Reuters. At the summit, the Gates Foundation “is set to unveil funding a sum in the hundreds of millions of dollars for a campaign to improve access to contraception in the developing world,” the news service notes (Wickham, 7/10). In addition, the U.K. government will “pledge to donate more than one billion pounds [$1.6 billion] to help family planning services in the developing world,” the Independent writes (Pickover, 7/11). The WHO “committed to fast-track its assessment of new and existing quality contraceptives so more women in low- and middle-income countries can obtain and use a broader range of safe and effective contraceptive products,” the agency reports in a media note (7/11). 

Wednesday also marks World Population Day, and in a message (.pdf) recognizing the day, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “called for more to be done to help those who most need access to reproductive health care,” the U.N. News Centre reports. “The theme for this year’s Day is ‘Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services,’ aimed at highlighting the essential part that reproductive health plays in creating a just and equitable world,” the news service notes. Ban writes, “Reproductive health and rights are integral to sustainable development and poverty reduction,” adding, “Investing in universal access to reproductive health is a crucial investment in healthy societies and a more sustainable future,” according to the news service (7/10). VOA News notes that a recent report “says 222 million women worldwide who want to avoid or delay pregnancy have no access to birth control,” a number that has increased over the past four years (Presutti, 7/10).

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