Leading health policy experts released a report stating that investing in women’s reproductive and sexual health services results in huge medical benefits and could save more than a million lives every year.
According to the report, written by the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the gaps in sexual and reproductive health care that account for nearly one-fifth of illnesses and premature deaths in women of reproductive age around the world could be closed with cost-effective investments in sexual and reproductive health care.
Despite increasing needs, the report also states that in 2000, only $2.6 billion was provided for sexual and reproductive health services, which is less than half the amount pledged at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Providing the needed services could prevent fifty-two million unintended pregnancies and one and a half million maternal and infant deaths.
According to the report, there needs to be increased funding, especially in poor countries, in three key areas: prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; maternal health; and contraceptive supplies and services, reports AGI.
The report calls on countries to fulfill the pledges made at the ICPD. According to the President of AGI, Sharon Camp, they “hope [the report] will reach the Bush administration and also members of Congress who appropriate funds. We also hope it will reach European donor governments. Even though they are doing better than the United States in meeting their pledge, none of them are where they committed to be in 1994,” reports Kaiser.