Developing Countries: Maternity Services

International Development written question – answered at on 21 December 2010.

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Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood Conservative, Oxford West and Abingdon

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether his plans for improving maternal health in developing countries include the provision of technical and financial support in respect of user fees.

Photo of Stephen O'Brien Stephen O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development

Improving maternal health and women's rights are major priorities for the UK Government. The Department for International Development (DFID) will shortly be launching a new Framework for Results for Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health. This will set out how the UK aims to increase efforts to 2015 to save the lives of at least 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth, a quarter of a million newborn babies and enable 10 million couples to access modern methods of family planning. It includes action to remove financial barriers that prevent women accessing services.

The Government believe that nobody should die or suffer ill health because they are too poor to afford treatment. This is why we support international efforts to achieve universal coverage of basic health services. Evidence shows that removing financial barriers increases poor women's uptake of reproductive, maternal and newborn health services. Where appropriate, DFID will provide technical and financial support to countries that wish to remove fees at the point of use of services and replace them with more equitable health financing systems. This includes making essential health services free at the point of use, and supporting the poorest women to meet the indirect costs of health care by piloting innovative approaches like cash transfer programmes.

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