QUESTION NUMBER 14 - SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES HEARING FEBRUARY 2011
Senator Hanson-Young asked AusAID in writing on 13 February 2011:
AusAID has made a significant commitment to increasing its funding in the area of family planning. Can you please explain how investing in family planning contributes to the development of countries and the achievement of all the MDGs, and why it is so important for Australia to lead in this area, particularly in the Pacific?
Family planning is the most cost effective way to reduce maternal and child mortality. Family planning is unique in the breadth of potential benefits including:
• in countries with high fertility rates, better access to family planning services has the potential to reduce maternal deaths by 32 per cent and childhood deaths by 10 per cent;
• family planning has proven benefits in terms of gender equality and preventing HIV infections;
• family planning can reduce poverty and promote economic growth by improving family well-being and allow greater female workforce participation and education levels.
The Asia Pacific region is home to around 40 per cent of the 350,000 deaths of women and girls that occur globally each year. In Australia's nearest neighbour, Papua New Guinea, a woman is 80 times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth than in Australia. In East Timor one in 18 children die before the age of five, with nearly 90 per cent of these deaths in the first year of life. As a major donor in the region Australia can play a leading role in assisting countries to reduce these levels and improve livelihoods in our neighbouring countries.