Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $50 million initiative to strengthen reproductive health rights for women, improve access to family planning services, and reduce maternal deaths in the world's poorest countries.
The commitment to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) — a global collaboration of governments, nonprofit organizations, donors, and researchers working to ensure that women in low-income countries have access to family planning information, contraceptives, and reproductive health services by 2020 — will include support for advocacy efforts in Nicaragua, Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Uganda. Among other things, Bloomberg Philanthropies will partner with Planned Parenthood Global to provide technical support to local grantees advocating for laws and policies that support access to reproductive health services — especially for marginalized groups such as young and unmarried women.
In partnership with the United Nations Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies also will launch a rapid-response grant program designed to help governments and service providers in FP2020's sixty-nine "focus countries" deliver services more effectively. To be administered by FP2020, the grants will help address a variety of critical needs, including the purchase of supplies in emergency situations and providing specialized training for health providers. "The Rapid Response Fund catalyzes action by matching resources to needs through a simple and nimble deployment mechanism," said United Nations Foundation president and CEO Kathy Calvin. "FP2020 will be able to seize opportunities and respond to critical emergencies that deliver high impact in the short term."
In addition, Bloomberg Philanthropies will expand its ongoing work to improve maternal health in Tanzania, where a woman dies nearly every hour from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. In partnership with the World Lung Foundation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, EngenderHealth, and Marie Stopes International, the program will provide comprehensive reproductive health services, including family planning and post-abortion care, to about two million women.
"For all our advances in medicine, far too many women still die during childbirth, a tragedy for mothers, their children, and their entire families," said Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael R. Bloomberg. "By providing critical health services closer to mothers' homes — and by empowering women to make informed choices about when they want to have children — we can help save thousands of lives."