The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) calls on the UK government to keep its commitment to spend at least £225m per year on family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare.
The UK government's decision to cut the aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5%, is one that will exacerbate inequalities further and widen economic, social and healthcare gaps in low-income countries, with women and girls undoubtedly being hardest hit.
IPPF’s Director-General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said:
“Cuts cost lives. Women and girls that rely on foreign aid assistance are already facing dire situations and this cut in funding will only worsen their situation.
“The UK government has a moral obligation to the millions of people who rely on foreign assistance to survive. We are already seeing the devastating impact these cuts will have in Yemen, a country that now faces the worst famine in decades, and where 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance.
“We are in exceptional times and the pandemic has shone a global light on the fragile and precarious situations millions of people face around the world; from job and food insecurity, to fragile healthcare systems, to being unable to access healthcare. Cutting aid during a pandemic is cruel and will only impact the most vulnerable amongst us.
“The UK government cannot turn its back on the women and girls who need their help and we urge the UK to maintain its commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).”
Whilst we are pleased to see girls’ education, COVID and global health security as part of the UK’s ‘seven global challenges’, we urge the UK to ensure that SRHR is not deprioritized.
The health and lives of women and girls around the world is STILL at risk.
Millions of women and girls around the world face the indignity of dropping out of school, or an unsafe abortion because of barriers in healthcare. When women and girls have access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, it helps them stay in education and enables them to join the workforce. These choices let women and girls take control of their lives.
At the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019, the UK signed the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) which aimed to provide effective health services to an additional one billion people by 2023. Reducing the aid budget inevitably reduces investment in healthcare, meaning the UK will renege on its commitment to support UHC globally.
The UK has a long-standing reputation of investing in sexual and reproductive healthcare programmes that enable women and girls to lead healthier, safer and more prosperous lives. As the UK prepares to host the G7 and COP this year, we strongly urge the UK to remain a champion for the rights of women and girls and welcome the reassurance that no one who needs help will be left behind.
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