New Population Council Book:
Family Planning Improves Health, Boosts Economies
NEW YORK (2 July 2012) — The Population Council today released a new book demonstrating the power of voluntary family planning programs to improve health, reduce poverty, and empower women. The book was released in advance of the London Summit on Family Planning (11 July), which kicks off a groundbreaking effort to make affordable, lifesaving contraceptives, information, services, and supplies available to an additional 120 million women and girls in the world's poorest countries by 2020. The Summit is being hosted by the UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Population Council's new book, Family Planning Programs for the 21st Century: Rationale and Design, provides developing-country policymakers and international donors with the latest evidence demonstrating that voluntary family planning programs improve health and stimulate development. It also outlines how to structure high-quality family planning programs to ensure they operate most effectively.
"Voluntary family planning programs reduce maternal and infant mortality and improve infant and child health. But family planning is more than a health and human rights investment—it is also a powerful development investment. When women are able to plan and space their pregnancies, families can save more and begin to break the grip of poverty. And communities can make greater investments in education, health care, and infrastructure," said John Bongaarts, Population Council vice president and distinguished scholar, and lead author on the book. "For an audience of international and national policymakers, the book presents the most recent evidence on why these programs matter, how they work, and how to design them."
Today, more than 200 million women in the developing world want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern method of contraception. They face many obstacles, including lack of access to information and health care services, opposition from their husbands and communities, misperceptions about side effects, and cost. If these obstacles could be overcome and the demand for family planning met, 54 million unintended pregnancies, more than 79,000 maternal deaths, and more than a million infant deaths could be averted each year.
Related materials released today include:
About the Population Council
The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.
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