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Health News of Thursday, 30 May 2013

Source: GNA

Melinda Gates advocates linking family planning to health

Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on Wednesday, said family planning should be a strong link to good health for women and their children.

“Women should be allowed to have a say and decide on family planning options for the sake of their well-being, and that of their children,” she said.

Melinda Gates said this during a session on “Girls and Women: Drivers of Development,” at the ongoing Third Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

More than 3,000 delegates, including policymakers, advocates and world leaders, representing 150 countries, are attending the three-day conference.

It was organized by Women Deliver, a global advocacy organization, which brings together stakeholders to call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women.

The 2013 event has been flaunted as the largest global conference of the decade, to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women.

Melinda Gates said there were more than 200 million women around the world that lacked access to contraceptives, and there was the need to bridge the gap.

She cited the case of Niger where 75 per cent of girls got married before their 18th birthday and said it was likely that a child bride, from a poor or developing country, would not have access to contraceptives and would get pregnant and leave school.

"However, if these girls don't get pregnant and are able to stay in school, everything changes. They will be healthier, their children will be healthier later on.

And because they're able to finish schooling, they'll be able to earn money," she said.

Melinda Gates called on stakeholders, to work hard to ensure the fruition of access to family planning by 2020.

Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, said though much progress had been made, there still remained a high level of unmet needs.

She said UNFPA was committed to ensuring that those needs were met.

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