Contraception for 120 million more women
Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson will be speaking today at the London Summit on Family Planning at the invitation of British Prime Minister David Cameron and Melinda Gates. The summit aims to help an additional 120 million women gain access to family planning by 2020. Estimates indicate that this would result in more than 200,000 fewer women and girls dying in pregnancy and childbirth and nearly 3 million fewer infants dying in their first year of life.
The summit will strive to result in both political and financial commitments to increase support to family planning and contraceptives. For a number of years, Sweden has made women's health, and in particular sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), a priority issue. Sweden has also increased its support to the United Nations Population Fund and is now its largest donor.
In recent years the Government has taken special initiatives to advance Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on reduced maternal and infant mortality. The Government believes that it is extremely important to see maternal health in the context of SRHR, the rights perspectives and gender equality, and that women have the right to decide over their own bodies.
"Sweden's position is that family planning should always been seen in a broader perspective. Contraception is not only about family planning but also about rights and is an important factor in increased access to sexual and reproductive health," says Sweden's Health Ambassador, Anders Nordström, who is also attending the summit. "Greater access to contraception is not to be viewed as something that is decided from above, but as a service to people," he emphasises.