Norway Allocates NOK 1.2 billion, Doubling its Support for Family Planning Commodities

“Family planning is about the right of girls and women to control their own bodies,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås. “Women in the poorest countries should be able to plan how many children they want to have. Norway therefore intends to double its annual support for family planning between now and 2020.” 

“Norway will provide an additional NOK 150 million for family planning in 2013, and intends to maintain this at the same level each year until 2020. Norway has been ranked the world’s best country for mothers for the third year in a row. In turn we must show solidarity and help mothers and children in low ranking countries,” said Mr Holmås. 

At a summit in London on 11 July, Mr Holmås announced that Norway intends, together with other countries and organisations, to scale up global efforts to promote family planning. 

“The day she gives birth is supposed to be the happiest day in a woman’s life. But for many mothers and children it is the most dangerous. I recently visited Niger, where half of the girls marry and have their first child before their 15th birthday. Women have an average of seven children. It is vital that these girls are given the right to choose when to have children and how many,” said Mr Holmås. 

An estimated 287 000 children die each year from complications related to pregnancy and child birth. Many more sustain life-threatening complications. When the mother dies, there is a great likelihood that the child will also die. Almost all the women who die in childbirth live in poor countries. More than half live in Africa. 

“Many poor women are unable to plan when to have children. Some 215 million women in poor countries have no access to information, contraceptives, prenatal care, skilled health personnel or safe abortion. 

One third of all maternal deaths and one fifth of infant deaths could have been prevented by family planning. 

“It is relatively easy to prevent these deaths and complications. In recent years much progress has been made in promoting women’s rights and gender equality, including maternal and child health. Maternal mortality has been halved between 1990 and 2010. But there is still a long way to go. It is now more important than ever that Norway acts in collaboration with others. Supporting family planning while at the same time giving girls access to basic education is probably the most important means of promoting gender equality today,” said Mr Holmås. 

In many parts of the world women’s right to control their own bodies and health is still controversial. This is despite the fact that all experience confirms that a country’s development is dependent on women’s resources and expertise being fully utilised. 

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