The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) Summit ended in Nairobi on Thursday on a high note with private sector organisations, multinationals and donor agencies promising to raise $8 billion in the next 10 years in support of programmes promoting the sexual
and reproductive health rights of women in poor countries.
The pledges were in reaction to research presented at the forum that the world will need $264 billion to address girl’s and women’s sexual and reproductive health issues in the next decade in 132 priority countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
The pledge, in the form of technical solutions and medical equipment and amenities, were made by among others the Ford Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, Philips and World Vision.
“The private sector is indispensable to meeting the ‘three zeros’ of the Nairobi Summit,” said head of UNFPA’s Strategic Partnerships Branch, Mariarosa Cutillo.
The research, done jointly by the UNFPA, the Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Victoria University, the University of Washington and Avenir Health Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says the price-tag for key maternal health intervention that could put an end to preventable pregnancy and childbirth related deaths in the 120 countries that account for over 95 per cent of maternal mortality will cost $115.5 billion.
These are interventions including paying for medical staff, drugs and obstetric supplies.
Speakers at the forum hosted by Kenya, Denmark and UNFPA to discuss progress made in reproductive health in the past 25 years, concurred that achieving these results by 2030 is a precondition to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals to tackling poverty.
Currently, only $42 billion in development assistance is expected to be spent on addressing the three issues, meaning some $222 billion is required, whether in the form of foreign investment, domestic allocation or private spending, over the next decade.
“We now know how much and where we need to invest. These figures are a drop in the ocean compared with the dividend expected and the funds available,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem, adding that “These are smart, affordable investments that will transform the lives of women and girls, their societies, and our world. The cost of inaction is much higher.”
Of the $264 billion needed, ending female genital mutilation will need $2.4 billion in interventions related to education and changing social norms in 31 priority countries, with $95 stopping one case of FGM.
It will cost $35 billion to stop 90 per cent of all child marriages in the world, meaning it takes $600 to spare a girl from becoming a child bride.
Family planning is estimated to cost $68.5 billion, while ending gender-based violence will require an investment of up to $42 billion in programmes that provide psychosocial assistance, medical treatment and rape kits to survivors, and promote the right of women and girls to live free of violence and abuse.
“We have a collective responsibility and opportunity to deliver on our promises, now,” said Dr Kanem.
“We cannot wait another 25 years. It’s time to fill these resource gaps and make this a decade of delivery. It’s time to get the job done. With strong financing momentum we can achieve these transformative results, complete the ICPD Programme of Action and meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”