Europe needs to
reverse a decline in aid for sexual and reproductive
health in developing nations, where a woman dies almost
every minute in pregnancy or childbirth, population
experts said Tuesday.
A woman in Sweden
has a 1 in 30,000 chance of dying as a result of
pregnancy or childbirth, while the risk is 1 in 7 for women
in Sierra Leone or Afghanistan, the German Foundation
for World Population estimated in report released at a
conference on reproductive health.
According to the
study, European Commission aid allotted for sexual and
reproductive health decreased from $25 million per year
between 2003 and 2006 to $17 million per year
earmarked for 2007 to 2013.
''Europe is not
delivering,'' said Anne van Lancker, a Belgian Socialist
member of the European parliament.
health-related aid from Europe was geared only toward
HIV and AIDS this year, said Karen Hoehn, European
affairs director of the foundation, which is known by
its German acronym DSW. She said that help was
imperative but that cash was also needed for family planning
and reproductive health.
for nearly 65% of world development aid, but the DSW said
support for reproductive health represented just 1.8% of
total European Union aid in 2004, down from 2.8% in
Commission officials declined to immediately comment on the
report, saying they had not had time to study its findings.
This study comes
when the largest youth population ever enters its
childbearing years. Sietske Steneker, a United Nations
Population Fund spokeswoman, said that with 3 billion
women and girls approaching childbearing age, the
demand for reproductive health services will increase
40% in the next 15 years.
Hoehn cited the
example of Uganda, saying many girls as young as 12
report being sexually active -- by choice or not. Fewer than
20% of sexually active youth in Africa use
contraceptives, the DSW report said.
The leading cause
of maternal death is hemorrhage, often caused by lack
of skilled medical personnel present at childbirth. (AP)
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