UK still leading the way
in global health

Today’s London Family Planning Summit is a welcome reminder that the UK can still lead global health discussions, and make commitments of UK aid that maintain its continued global role.

What was The Summit?

The Summit was a five-year review of the FP2020 event in London in 2012 at which the UK, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gathered world leaders to commit to get contraception to 120 million additional women by 2020.

Five years later, there has been progress and an additional 30 million women have contraception. But progress is not fast enough for the 2020 target.

The UK calculates that it has supported 8.5 million. Of course, the majority has come from national resources in countries which had the most to do.

Campaigners with Priti Patel

A surprise from Priti Patel

At the 2017 Summit, DFID Secretary of State Priti Patel surprised the audience with a bold commitment – to increase the UK’s annual contribution to family planning aid by 25%.

This means an additional £45 million a year, to which Patel committed until 2022. This means the UK will contribute £225 million a year to family planning.

This will support contraception for 20 million women and girls every year, prevent 6 million unintended pregnancies and prevent over 75,000 still births.

“British aid at its best”

We warmly welcome this, which dwarfed other commitments made at the Summit. We welcome it because we know that, in 2015, 30,000 teenage girls died as a result of pregnancy and childbirth.

Thousands of our supporters agreed and we handed in their names to Priti Patel last night with other charities. Kirsty McNeill, our Director of Policy Advocacy & Campaigns said:

“UK aid saves lives and the sort of long-term investment Priti Patel announced today is the most effective way to change the lives of girls and women forever. Today’s announcement represents British aid at its best and everybody who supports aid can be proud of the number of children who will be saved as a result.”

Giving all girls control

We also recognise, as all speakers did, that girls and women having control of their bodies is essential to their rights. Priti Patel also said that the UK would continue “supporting safe abortion and working to prevent the horrors of backstreet abortions that kill so many women and girls.”

Most of the commitments made today were by low and middle income governments – and this is how universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights will be achieved. By governments raising and spending money fairly, building Universal Health Coverage with reproductive health services, at primary care level, for all women and girls.

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Comments

  • James Sale

    Secretary of State for Development Priti Patel today announced a 25% increase in UK support for family planning. £30 million of this will be channelled through the Global Financing Facility: https://www.globalfinancingfacility.org/united-kingdom-and-canada-contribute-global-financing-facility-every-woman-every-child

  • Nicodemus Siayi Soko

    BUT NOT YET DONE-WE HAVE TO FIGHT-We’ve a long way to go.
    One teenage girl dies every 20 minutes around the world as a result of
    pregnancy or childbirth.
    THIS TOUCHES ME COMPLETELY;IN RURAL TANZANIA I FEEL IT IS MORE THAN THE DATA.THAT IS WHY I AM FULLY INVOLVED ON THIS CAMPAIGN.NOT YET WE HAVE A FAR WALK ON THIS-I AM WITH YOU/

  • shubana

    Need save people alive and give them good treat caring and education also food meal and beingwell

  • Nigel Blair Orr

    As a monthly donor, I want to know STC position in relation to ‘The Mexico City Policy’. An article in The Independent suggests that abortion services are to be discontinued to protect funding from US. Is this true?

  • Simon Wright

    Dear Nigel. The MCP is a rule that “foreign” (non-American) organisations which receive United States Government health funding must commit not to deliver or promote abortion except in cases of rape, incest and threat to the life of the woman. Save the Children International (the body which manages our country programmes) counts as a “foreign organisation” and, after careful consideration and extended consultation, the Board of Save the Children International has reluctantly decided that Save the Children International will comply Mexico City Policy. While we strongly disagree with the policy, on balance we believe the consequences of not complying would also have damaging consequences for the health and survival of some of the world’s poorest mothers and children. The Mexico City Policy has left us with an impossible choice on how to respond to a development that challenges our fundamental values as an independent child rights organisation. We are deeply concerned the Mexico City Policy will reduce access to family planning services, increase maternal and child mortality, and also reduce access to U.S. global health funding for life-saving health services more broadly. As an independent child rights organisation, we are also concerned that the Mexico City Policy restricts what organisations, including our local partners, can do with their own funds, and infringes on the freedom of expression that is enshrined in international agreements. Save the Children countries which are not covered by the Mexico City Ruling – this includes all Member Countries including Save the Children UK which do not receive US funding – will continue to use our voice on behalf of women and children.
    We will continue to advocate for policies and laws that are in the best interest of children.