As outlined in the recent International Development Strategy, the UK is strongly committed to "empowering women and girls, unlocking the agency and power of all people" by "driving progress on universal, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights". The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) supports a broad range of programmes, including on maternal and child health, family planning and HIV and AIDS. Since taking up position of Minister for Africa in September I have visited clinics offering Reproductive Health Services in Senegal, Tanzania, Malawi and Sierra Leone and had the opportunity to hear first hand from women, medical staff and community leaders of the transformational impact these services are having on women and their families.
The UK has supported 9.5 million women and girls to use modern methods of contraception since 2018 through the Women's Integrated Sexual Health (WISH) programme, which now works across 17 African countries. This £260 million programme delivers voluntary family planning services and reproductive health and rights, with a focus on reaching those most in need - young people, women living in extreme poverty and people with disabilities. It has averted 45,080 maternal deaths, 5.9 million unsafe abortions and 16.5 million unintended pregnancies.
The UK also plays a vital role in strengthening countries' own ability to deliver life-saving maternal, reproductive and child health services through the Global Financing and Reproductive Health Supplies programmes, and our support to FP2030 and UNAIDs.