Family planning is a powerful means in combating poverty: the donor community must necessarily relook at their priorities

Family Planning has almost lost focus with newly emerging competing priorities of the Governments and international community. The resurgence of population growth factor worldwide, particularly in the developing countries is a matter of concern. The international population assistance has gone down from 55% in 1995 to merely 5% in 2005. Despite the fact that the Total Fertility Rate of developing countries have declined from 6.2 in 1950 to 2.9 early this century, yet the world population have reached 6.6 billion and increasing by 60-70 million annually. Universal access to family planning it is not yet a reality–particularly not among the poorest. Worldwide, 200 million women would like to delay or prevent pregnancy, but are not using effective contraception. The demand for contraceptives is expected to grow by 40 per cent in the next 15 years, but funding for it has been declining over the years. Effective family planning programs targeted to meet the needs of poor populations can reduce the fertility gap between rich and poor people, and make a great contribution to poverty reduction and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Unless high population growth and maternal mortality are checked and women are empowered and brought to mainstream development endeavors and universal access to reproductive health including family planning is ensured, poverty will be further aggravated and all gains of international community will soon be reversed.

There is a need to find quick and pragmatic solution to address these issues urgently. The donor community must necessarily relook at their priorities and invest more on Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal mortality. Governments, especially those of poor countries should reshape their policies and put back Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Health high on their agenda. There is also a need to advocate and lobby additionally with policy-makers and important stakeholders to address these burning issues.

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