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International leaders Call for Increased Funding for Maternal Health and Family Planning

As part of its Every Woman, Every Child campaign, the United Nations in mid-September announced that governments and NGOs, alike, are stepping up their support for maternal and child health programs, including family planning services. One of the goals of the campaign, in addition to slashing maternal and infant death rates, is to prevent 33,000 unwanted pregnancies. Last year, when the initiative was launched, $40 billion had been pledged; this week, the U.N. Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, announced that an additional $10 billion has been committed, including significant pledges from the developing countries themselves.

That same week in New York, the Global Leaders Council of Reproductive Health, an Aspen Institute initiative led by former Irish president Mary Robinson, called upon donor nations to double their commitments to family planning and reproductive health programs in the developing world to $6.7 billion a year.