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Family planning funding not delivered in third world

The World Bank says that governments and donors have failed to keep their promises to support family planning programmes in third world countries

According to a World Bank report, governments and donors have failed to keep their promises to support family planning programmes in third world countries, which has led to shortages in contraceptive supplies.

The report, entitled "Population Issues in the 21st Century: The Role of the World Bank" had said that the priorities of donors and development agencies have moved away from family planning to other areas because fertility rates have fallen in most low- and middle-income countries outside of Africa.

The transportation of birth control supplies to clinics and pharmacies in rural areas was a problem in many poor countries, the report added.

According to the report, global funds and initiatives have bypassed funding of family planning, with less attention focused on the consequences of high fertility, even in those countries failing to achieve sustainable population growth.

It also revealed that approximately 68,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe abortions, with 5.3m suffering temporary or permanent disability, as well as suffering at the hands of their own communities as a result

The World Bank's vice-president for human development and a former health minister in Botswana, Joy Phumaphi, said: "Poor women endure a disproportionate burden of poor sexual and reproductive health because they run into financial or social barriers getting access to these basic but vital programmes."

In April 2007, the EU objected to efforts by the US to alter language on reproductive health services, including abortions, in a new World Bank health strategy for poor countries.

The Bush administration has been accused of withholding funds to groups or clinics which offer advice on abortion. The US has also been accused of trying to limit access to birth control, although it does distribute more condoms globally than any other country, according to Scientific American.

The dispute between the US and the EU followed reports that the World Bank's Managing Director, Juan Jose Daboub, had deleted all references to family planning in a bank strategy for Madagascar.

30th September 2008

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