By Oluwafunke Ishola
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has announced a 200 million dollars commitment to enhance universal access to family planning products and information.
The foundation disclosed this during the 2023 Goalkeepers Conference held on the margin of the 78th United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
The fund would also drive faster delivery of lifesaving health solutions, and a reduction in maternal and child mortality.
The foundation said that the fund was a response to an alarming reversal in progress on Global Goal 3 (Good health and wellbeing.)
“Long-term commitment of up to $100 million to help meet the demand in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) for family planning supplies.
“This funding will go to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Supplies Partnership to ensure more women in LMICs are able to access the contraceptives they need and want at a price they can afford.
“Contraceptives are critical building blocks of women’s power and can accelerate progress toward nearly every SDG—whether that’s ending poverty or improving global health.
“This commitment comes at a time when the global funding gap for contraceptives is growing, with the potential to cumulatively reach $1 billion by 2030 if we do not preserve funding and bring in additional support, including through sustainable financing approaches,” it said.
The foundation said that another long-term commitment of $100 million to bring faster access to health products in low- and middle-income countries.
According to BMGF, the funding will go to Unitaid, doubling the foundation’s previous commitment, to support its work to accelerate the introduction and delivery of new lifesaving solutions at equitable scale, including those for maternal and newborn health.
It noted that Unitaid’s unique approach helps reach the health-related targets of the SDGs more quickly.
“Its previous work unlocked access to more than 100 groundbreaking health products, including those for HIV, TB, and malaria; women’s and children’s health; and pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response,” it said.
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, said, “Halfway to the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals, our annual Goalkeepers Report shows that on 18 indicators—from poverty to gender equality, education to food security, health to climate—the world is off track.
“But we also see where innovation, investment, and the extraordinary work of passionate changemakers around the world have the potential to turn the tide, saving the lives of two million mothers and babies by 2030,” he said.
Besides, this year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners, recognised the contributions of six remarkable leaders working in their communities and globally to advance progress towards the UN-SDGs.
The 2023 Global Goalkeeper Award was presented to Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, for championing resilient, equitable, and sustainable universal health coverage for all.
Similarly, the Campaign Award was presented to The Farmlink Project, founded by Aidan Reilly, Ben Collier, and James Kanoff, for its work advocating for and building community around food equity in the United States.
Also, the Progress Award, which celebrates an individual who supports progress via a science, technology, digital, or business initiative, was presented to social entrepreneur, digital innovator, and human rights activist Eden Tadesse.
The Changemaker Award, which celebrates an individual who has inspired change using personal experience or from a position of leadership, was presented to Ashu Martha Agbornyenty for her work reducing high rates of maternal mortality in Cameroon.
The Goalkeepers Lifetime Achievement Award was given to former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, honoring their extraordinary work on disease eradication, mental health, democracy, conflict resolution, human rights, and, most notably, combating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
Goalkeepers Voice Award was presented to Bono, founder of the ONE Campaign and (RED), lead singer of the band U2, and activist, for his significant impact on SDG progress through advocacy and campaigning with ONE and (RED).
Speaking on the Award, Blessing Omakwu, Deputy-Director, Global Content, Campaigns and Goalkeepers lead, said, “This year’s Goalkeepers Global Goals Award winners show us how human ingenuity and innovation can help tackle some of the world’s most difficult challenges.
“Everyone has the power to make a difference in their communities, and these courageous and indefatigable advocates are helping tens of thousands of people live healthier, more productive lives.”
Participants at the Goalkeepers Conference included Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan, President William Ruto of Kenya, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and more than 400 global young changemakers. (NAN/vitalnewsngr.com)