Scaling up family planning-key issue at AusAID roundtable

Burnet Institute

30 March, 2011

NGO representatives at the AusAID round table concerning scaling up family planning

That’s just one of the staggering statistics that was raised at a special roundtable meeting in March with AusAID, co-hosted by Compass: the Women’s and Children’s Health Knowledge Hub, focussed on ‘Supporting progress towards the health Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – Increasing access to family planning services.’

AusAID consulted a range of stakeholders about the Australian commitment to scale up family planning; with the intention this consultation would feed into future health policy/maternal newborn and child health strategy.

The Federal Government, through AusAID, is expected to spend almost AUD$1.6 billion on maternal and child health over the next five years. This is part of Australia’s commitment to increase the Aid budget to 0.5 per cent of gross national income by 2015 and will include a further increase in spending on family planning.

Principal of the Women’s and Children’s Hub from the Burnet Institute, Dr Wendy Holmes, welcomed participants from a wide selection of Australian NGOs, academics, and regional organisations working in family planning research, service delivery and advocacy, and project implementation to the round-table discussions.

Among the representatives from AusAID was Mr Murray Proctor, First Assistant Director-General Sectoral Policy and Ms Joanne Greenfield, Maternal and Child Health adviser.

Burnet’s Team Leader, Women’s and Children’s Health, Dr Natalie Gray, presented on ‘Improving our knowledge and approaches for scaling up family planning.’ Bruce Parnell, Principal Fellow from Burnet’s Centre for International Health facilitated the meeting.

Dr Gray reaffirmed the existing pressing need to scale-up family planning.

“There are 215 million women who would like to delay their first pregnancy, space their births, or complete their families but do not have access to reliable contraception,” Dr Gray said.

“Adolescent girls have a higher unmet need for contraception than adult women with 6.1 million unintended pregnancies among girls aged 15-19 annually.”

Dr Gray said increasing access to family planning was cost-effective for developing countries.

“It will cost an average of US$1.20 per person per year, or US$8 per woman, to meet the need for contraception in the developing world.”

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Burnet Institute

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