From Seun Akioye, New York
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) yesterday announced an additional funding commitments of $200 million towards achieving universal access to family planning products and information, faster delivery of lifesaving health solutions, and a reduction in maternal and child mortality.
In a statement made available to the media in New York during this year’s Goalkeepers event, the foundation said it was responding to alarming reversal of the Sustainable Development Goal number 3 which is to ensure healthy lives and promote the well-being of all ages.
Mark Suzman, the CEO of the foundation said: “Halfway to the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, our annual Goalkeepers Report shows that on 18 indicators—from poverty to gender equality, education to food security, health to climate—the world is off track.”
“But we also see where innovation, investment, and the extraordinary work of passionate changemakers around the world have the potential to turn the tide, saving the lives of 2 million mothers and babies by 2030.”
The new commitment of up to $100 million will help meet the demand in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for family planning supplies. This funding will go to the UNFPA Supplies Partnership to ensure more women in LMICs are able to access the contraceptives they need and want at a price they can afford.
“Contraceptives are critical building blocks of women’s power and can accelerate progress toward nearly every SDG—whether that’s ending poverty or improving global health. This commitment comes at a time when the global funding gap for contraceptives is growing, with the potential to cumulatively reach $1 billion by 2030 if we do not preserve funding and bring in additional support, including through sustainable financing approaches,” the statement read.
The foundation also made long-term commitment of $100 million to bring faster access to health products in low- and middle-income countries. This funding, it said, will go to Unitaid, doubling the foundation’s previous commitment, to support its work to accelerate the introduction and delivery of new lifesaving solutions at equitable scale, including those for maternal and newborn health.
“Unitaid’s unique approach helps reach the health-related targets of the Sustainable Development Goals more quickly. Its previous work unlocked access to more than 100 groundbreaking health products, including those for HIV, TB, and malaria; women’s and children’s health; and pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response,” Suzman said.