UNFPA and the single most important factor for preventing maternal mortality

UNFPA and the single most important factor for preventing maternal mortality

4/20/17

Every year, 300,000 women die from pregnancy-related conditions - one woman every 90 seconds; 800 women every single day. These are some of the conditions that kill them: hemorrhage, infection, hypertension and embolus. For every mother who dies, another 20 to 30 are injured or disabled yet we know how to prevent or treat many of these conditions with interventions that already exist. We don’t need new cures, drugs, equipment or procedures. We just need the support of the American people, the US government and UNFPA – the United Nation’s Population Fund.

The Trump Administration has eliminated funding for UNFPA, the leading United Nations organization that’s addressing maternal, newborn and child mortality, reproductive health and women’s access to safe family planning. This is a crisis with the potential to inflict harm for generations.

Since UNFPA was founded in 1969, the number and rate of women dying from pregnancy-related complications has been cut in half. That’s in large part because the most important factor for preventing maternal death is letting women control when and whether to become pregnant. When pregnancy is unavoidable, however, or occurs too frequently, too soon or when women are too young, old or unhealthy, odds for survival drop dramatically, especially in countries where healthcare is difficult or impossible to access.

International family planning and funding for UNFPA saves lives.

In these countries, mothers die frequently and leave behind devastated families and generations of grieving, severely disadvantaged children. When a mother dies, her children’s safety, nutrition, health, growth, development, education and prospects for escaping poverty are deeply and permanently affected.

When mothers survive, however, and are supported to be healthy before, during and after pregnancy, their children, families and communities benefit with outcomes that are both profound and measurable. As women’s health improves, so do economic prospects and child survival, health, development and education rates.  When enough dominos drop in the right direction, global poverty rates improve in sustainable, scalable ways. It all starts with UNFPA’s ability to support women’s health, choices and rights.

UNFPA supports:

  • Reproductive healthcare for women and youth in more than 150 developing countries where more than 80 percent of the world’s population live.
  • The health of pregnant women, especially the 10-15 million who face life-threatening complications each year
  • Reliable access to modern contraceptives for 20 million women a year
  • Training of health workers to attend at least 80 percent of all births.
  • Prevention of all forms of gender-based violence, which affects 1 in 3 women, including child marriage, female genital mutilation and intimate partner violence
  • Prevention of teen pregnancies, which are a leading cause of death for girls 15-19 years old

Right now, 225 million women in the world want access to voluntary family planning but can’t get the services and supplies they need.

The U.S. government has supported UNFPA and global family planning efforts for almost 50 years as one of the largest international purchasers and distributors of contraceptives. Voluntary family planning and modern contraceptives are cornerstone interventions that benefit women, families and communities all over the world.

Why yank funding now when UNFPA is contributing to a world of good? That’s the conversation we must keep having with Members of Congress, the American public and those who have the power to influence how tax dollars are spent. CARE Action is asking every advocate to start those conversations today by telling your Representatives that funding for UNFPA and women’s essential health services around the world are important to you and important for global prosperity and security. 

CARE Action calls on the U.S. government to support UNFPA funding and voluntary family planning services.

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