Britain will commit an extra £45m in new aid to provide family planning and conception around the world, the Government has announced.
Ministers say the new cash will help the 214 million women worldwide who lack modern contraception but do not want to get pregnant – and could save the life of a woman every 90 minutes.
The new commitment, which builds on work from 2012, will be unveiled officially at a major international family planning summit in London, co-hosted with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UN.
The summit will address the need for family planning in emergency situations, supply chain blockages that stop contraception making it to market, and information for adolescents, who can find it difficult to obtain family planning in developing countries.
The programme will be mostly targeted at Africa and Asia.
International Development Secretary Priti Patel is expected to say that Britain was “leading the world” in the issue.
“It’s truly astonishing that in today’s world there are still 214 million women around the world who do not want to get pregnant, but who are not currently using modern methods of family planning,” she said.
“Britain is leading the world on sexual and reproductive health, helping millions more women in the world’s poorest countries to access and use desperately-needed family planning services.
She continued: “This new UK aid support will provide 20 million women with voluntary contraception, change the lives of 6 million women by allowing them to avoid unintended pregnancies and prevent the trauma of 75,000 still births.
“But this isn’t a job for the UK alone and that’s why at this global Summit governments from around the world have come together to make commitments on family planning to address the long term need and unsustainable population growth.
“We are supporting the world’s poorest women to take control of their lives, so they can finish their education, get better jobs and in turn provide for their smaller, planned families rather than being trapped in a cycle of grinding poverty through unplanned pregnancies.”
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