Published On: Thu, Mar 27th, 2014

Bloomberg Philanthropies Launches $50 Million Reproductive Health Program

New Advocacy Grants Will Strengthen Reproductive Health Rights in Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Uganda. Program Will Also Double the Number of Clinics Delivering Care in Tanzania.

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Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the launch of a multi-faceted $50 million reproductive health program to prevent maternal deaths and help more women freely and safely make decisions about when to have children.

At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, Michael R. Bloomberg committed $50 million to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), a global collaboration of governments, non-profit organizations, donors and researchers, to ensure that women in the world’s poorest countries have access to family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020.

Over 200 million women and girls in developing countries want to delay, space or avoid becoming pregnant, but they do not use modern methods of contraception due to lack of information, opposition from partners or others, or difficulty obtaining services and supplies. This has tragic consequences, especially in developing countries where unintended pregnancies contribute to almost 300, 000 deaths during pregnancy and childbirth every year and millions of injuries to mothers and infants.

“For all our advances in medicine, far too many women still die during childbirth, a tragedy for mothers, their children, and their entire families, ” said Michael Bloomberg.  “By providing critical health services closer to mothers’ homes  – and by empowering women to make informed choices about when they want to have children – we can help save thousands of lives.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with Planned Parenthood Global, the international division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to support advocacy efforts for vital reproductive health reform in Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Uganda.

“When women have the power to decide if and when to have children there are fewer unintended pregnancies, fewer maternal deaths, and greater opportunities for women, families and their communities, ” said Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “To do this, governments need to play a stronger role to ensure that all women have access to the health care they need, no matter who they are, no matter where they live.”

The advocacy grants will support local partners’ efforts to advocate for laws and policies that support access to reproductive health services. Planned Parenthood Global will provide on-the-ground support to local organizations with technical expertise on coalition-building and media campaign development.

Since 2006, Bloomberg Philanthropies has been working to improve maternal health in Tanzania, using an innovative strategy to save mothers’ lives training non-physicians to perform life-saving surgeries, including cesarean-sections, and building operating rooms in remote health centers so more women have access to emergency care closer to home. The program has trained over one hundred non-physician clinicians to date, and expects to reach tens of thousands of mothers and children.

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