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Contraception to save thousands of women’s lives

Thousands of women’s lives will be saved in the world’s poorest countries with contraceptives from Britain.

The announcement comes during a five day international conference on family planning in Senegal.

These contraceptives will prevent more than two million unwanted pregnancies and nearly 220,000 dangerous and potentially fatal abortions.

Britain’s Development Minister Stephen O’Brien said the funding for the UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA) will give at least 1.6 million women in the developing world implants so they can choose themselves if, when and how many children they want.

It will make sure women in countries such as Mali can have implants, which are long-acting but reversible methods of birth control. Right now only eight per cent of people in the west African country use contraception, compared with 82 per cent in Britain.

“Millions of unintended pregnancies occur every year because 215 million women who desperately want to delay or avoid pregnancy are unable to do so,” Mr O’Brien told the talks in Dakar.

“For many, this amounts to a death sentence with a woman dying in pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes – 99per cent of them in the developing world.

“Giving girls and women the choice to decide whether, when and how many children they have is a priority for Britain. It means fewer women die in childbirth and the poorest families can make what little they have go further. Family planning is a smart, simple and extremely cost effective investment of aid. It is at the centre of all our development work and we are going to ensure more women are given the choices they want and deserve.”

About 2,000 people are going to this week’s conference making it the one of the biggest ever about family planning in the world’s poorest countries.

Family planning is key to achieving the Global Millennium Development Goals, said John Hopkins School of Public Health’s Prof Michael Klag. “Economic growth prospects are accelerated in a country when it is able to provide healthcare and education to children and their mothers,” he told the conference. “These countries can plough back on those investments, when children are spaced families build their own economic savings and nations are able to invest in other capital forming activities and expand their market economies. It is now up to all of us to be sure that all couples have equal access to family planning science.”

Hayley attribution