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Five Former USAID Officials Ask Obama for Leadership on Family Planning
Date:1/21/2009

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five former directors of the Population and Reproductive Health Program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today urged the new Obama administration to move quickly to restore U.S. leadership in global family planning.

The former directors issued a joint report, Making the Case for U.S. International Family Planning Assistance, as Barack Obama takes office as president. The report argues that U.S. investment in family planning assistance programs overseas must more than double as soon as possible if global anti-poverty and development goals are to be achieved amidst the worldwide economic downturn.

In their report, the five development experts documented "enormous pent-up and growing unmet need" for family planning information and services in developing countries, where governments are already struggling to provide enough jobs, education, health care and other services for their populations and poverty is rising.

At the same time, they said, interest and investment in family planning by the U.S. and other donor countries have stagnated or declined, "in part from the (mistaken) belief that rapid global population growth has halted; from diversion of resources to other needs... and from lack of understanding that family planning is not only essential for women's health but also a critical part of any successful economic development strategy."

The five co-authors successively directed the USAID Population and Reproductive Health Program across Republican and Democratic administrations from 1978 through 2006. They argued that this use of scarce resources provides substantial returns in both the short and the long term, contributing to the new administration's goal of reducing unintended pregnancies and saving millions of lives in the process.

The 22-page report recommends all
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SOURCE Making the Case
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