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U.S. Resumption of UNFPA Funding to Boost Women's Health and Rights

UNITED NATIONS, New York, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday's action by President Barack Obama to pave the way for the release of United States funding for UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, reminds the world of his commitment to women's health, rights and equality, according to UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid.

"This is a great day for women, girls and their families around the world," said Ms. Obaid. "We warmly applaud this action by President Obama, which underlines his support to the protection of the lives and human dignity of women and girls in the poorest countries."

President Obama yesterday signed legislation containing a $50 million contribution to UNFPA. This puts in motion the restoration of U.S. funding for UNFPA, which had been suspended since 2002.

"This is a much needed support," added Ms. Obaid, "which will allow UNFPA to maintain its life-saving work, particularly improving maternal and reproductive health, in the world's poorest communities, especially during this financial crisis."

A U.S. contribution would support ongoing UNFPA initiatives around the world, such as training midwives to make deliveries safer; providing health supplies to clinics; supporting the treatment of obstetric fistula; meeting the special needs of women in crises; and preventing HIV among young people.

The President's action fulfills a pledge he made during his first days in office.

"I look forward to working with Congress to restore U.S. financial support for the U.N. Population Fund," said President Obama in a statement on 23 January. "By resuming funding to UNFPA, the U.S. will be joining 180 other donor nations working collaboratively to reduce poverty, improve the health of women and children, prevent HIV/AIDS and provide family planning assistance to women in 154 countries."

"We are delighted that the United States will, once again, take a leading role in championing women's reproductive health and rights, alongside all other countries and partners that have supported us over the years," said Ms. Obaid.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries in using population data for policies and programmes to reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect. UNFPA -- because everyone counts.

For more information, please contact:

Abubakar Dungus, +1 212 297 5031,

Omar Gharzeddine, +1 212 297 5028,

or visit the UNFPA website,

SOURCE UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund
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