Azad urges nations to raise family welfare funds

October 26th, 2010 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Tuesday urged all countries to increase their allocation of funds for family welfare programmes and called for greater commitment towards issues of family planning and maternal health.

Addressing a meeting of the Partners in Population and Development in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Azad expressed concern over the decreasing funds in family planning, according to a release of the health ministry.

“The global funding for family planning as percentage of all population assistance has fallen from 55 percent in 1995 to five percent in 2005. Barring a few, most developed countries of the North have given an average of 0.2 to 0.4 percent of their Gross National Income as against the targeted commitment of 0.7 percent towards overseas development assistance, creating a serious resource crunch,” the ministry release quoted Azad as saying.

“I would, therefore, urge national governments and donor countries to renew their pledge to maternal health and family planning and commit much greater funding for accelerated progress. I am sure with deeper political commitment and enhanced financial investments, the MDG (Millenium Development Goals) targets can be achieved by 2015,” he said.

Launched in 1994 at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Partners in Population and Development (PPD) is an intergovernmental initiative created for the purpose of expanding and improving South-to-South collaboration in the fields of reproductive health, population and development.

Expressing concern over the increasing maternal mortality, the health minister said: “It is worrisome that 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 57 percent and South Asia accounting for 30 percent of the all deaths.”

“By doubling current levels of investment, by following a targeted approach to comprehensive reproductive health care and by expanding access to family planning services, including safe abortion, maternal health can be significantly improved and mortality reduced by over 70 percent,” he added.

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