A recent report by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) criticises the World Bank for failing to increase its commitment to funding projects related to reproductive health. There are 222 million women whose needs for family planning remain unmet, and this figure is projected to increase to 900 million by 2015. The World Bank provides a major source of finance for health projects and services around the world, and so has an in important role to play in improving access to family planning services.
IPPF have produced a scorecare which will track the commitment and progress of the World Bank’s involvement in reproductive health issues. “The scorecard revisited: Monitoring and evaluating implementation of the World Bank’s Reproductive Health Action Plan 2010–2015” reveals that, since the introduction of the Reproductive Health Action Plan in 2010, the original ambitions have not been fully realized.
White Ribbon Alliance champion, Princess Sarah Zeid of Jordan said: “Women and men all over the world tell us that they desperately need ways to space the births of their children, to ensure not only the health and survival of mothers and newborns, but the prosperity of their families and communities. The international community recognizes the critical importance access to contraception plays in advancing equity and development around the world, and we applaud the on-going efforts of governments, organizations and civil society to ensure the rights of all women are realized.”
IPPF Director General, Tewodros Melesse speaking of the need to measure the World Bank’s efforts on reproductive health added: “We have a role to ensure that investment and programming are targeted efficiently and according to the different realities on the ground. Worryingly, our tracking shows that Bank’s new investments towards reproductive health for 2013, declined from 2012, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the Bank’s total health budget. Reproductive health investments in 2013 made up 7% of the Bank’s total health budget, compared with 24% in 2012. If the Bank does not increase its new commitments to reproductive health in coming years, there is a risk of seeing a downward trend in the Bank’s future funding. This would be detrimental to a country’s ability to strengthen their health systems for people in poverty.”
“The Bank has a vital role to play in creating demand for essential reproductive health services for people. We remain optimistic that the Bank can turn around its performance by increasing the level of their investment in years to come and committing to a new reproductive health strategy from 2015”
Jackson Chekweko, Executive Director, Reproductive Health Uganda, IPPF Member Association said: “We need to see investment. This will ensure continued improvements in reproductive health outcomes on the ground for countries most in need of investment. It will help to accelerate progress on Millennium Development Goal 5, where least progress has thus far been made.”