September 15, 2004
Although approximately 60% of couples in developing countries have access to contraception -- an increase from only 10% to 15% in the 1960s -- international donors provided twice as much funding for contraceptives in developing nations in the early 1990s than they currently provide, Agence France-Presse reports. "The response of the international community has been inadequate," the report said, adding, "Past commitments to development assistance must move from declarations of good intentions to active partnerships and investments" (Agence France-Presse, 9/15). Approximately 137 million women worldwide who want to delay another birth or avoid pregnancy do not have access to contraception, while about 64 million women use contraception that is not the most effective available, the report said. Providing contraception to these women could prevent 23 million unplanned births, 22 million abortions and 1.4 million infant deaths, according to the report. The report also notes that 33% of pregnant women worldwide receive no prenatal care and 60% of births take place outside of hospital settings, according to the Pioneer Press. Such "gaps" in care have resulted in the deaths of 500,000 women due to pregnancy-, childbirth- and abortion-related complications, the Pioneer Press reports (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 9/15). The report also said that the world population is expected to grow from 6.4 billion in 2004 to 8.9 billion by 2050, with the 50 most resource-poor countries tripling in population (Toronto Star, 9/15).
The report said, "Differences between poor and rich populations' access to family planning are staggering," adding, "Women in the richest fifth of the population are five times more likely to have access to and use contraception than women in the poorest fifth" (Agence France-Presse, 9/15). The report concludes that an additional $3.9 billion in annual funding for contraception and family planning could prevent about 142,000 pregnancy-related deaths each year (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 9/15). "In 2004, it is a crime that women still die because they are having babies," UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said, adding, "We know what to do -- increase access to skilled (professionals) at birth and to emergency obstetric care." Werner Fornos, president of the Population Institute, said, "We may have made advances since Cairo, but they're nowhere near what should be happening. There are still 350 million people in the world who say they want no more children, or want to space their children, and that gap hasn't been reduced" (Toronto Star, 9/15). Obaid added, "Unless international assistance rises to the level agreed to at the Cairo conference, the numbers of people who need family planning, maternal health and HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment will continue to grow. Lack of reproductive health care will continue to be the leading cause of death and disability for women in the developing world and the AIDS pandemic will continue to expand and wreak havoc" (UNFPA release, 9/15).
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.