Family savings and investment would rise, spurring economic growth and reducing poverty. These advances at the family level would in turn make social and economic development goals easier to achieve, benefiting society as a whole.
Evidence from Ethiopia, Malawi and Rwanda shows that, with strong government commitment, significant gains can quickly be made in meeting women’s contraceptive needs.
In Rwanda, contraceptive use among married women increased from 9% in 2005 to 44% in 2010, a truly impressive achievement. If the commitments made at the London Summit are realized, and similar ones follow, this kind of progress could potentially become the norm, not the exception.
Now it is up to all of Africa’s leaders and the international community to do their part through a sustained commitment to improving the provision of contraceptive services. Not only do women want to time and space their pregnancies to achieve healthier outcomes and better lives for themselves and their families, it is their human right to do so.
Dr Babatunde Osotimehin is United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund.
Sharon L. Camp, PhD. is President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.
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