July 11th was definitely momentous, but I don’t think the hundreds of thousands of women and girls that are displaced by conflict living in South Sudan’s villages heard the news. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the British government and other donors committed $2.6 billion dollars to give a projected 120 million women in the world’s poorest countries access to lifesaving contraception. This unprecedented effort could be a major milestone in global health, development and women’s rights. But we need to make sure this new funding and political commitment is followed by swift action—and change felt on the ground.
In the humanitarian settings where we work, we have found that few aid agencies and governments focus on family planning—even though it is a critical public health intervention that saves lives and has impact far beyond health. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, men and women fleeing their homes are not likely to be thinking about their contraceptives as a first priority, and neither is it a main concern of humanitarian aid agencies responding to these crises. Yet, experience has shown us that even in the earliest days and weeks of a humanitarian emergency, women and girls want to use contraception.
Read the full blog in the RH Reality Check website.