London - Marie Stopes International’s (MSI) programmes protected the equivalent of 17.8 million couples from unintended pregnancy in 2009, a 33% increase over the previous year and the largest annual growth in the organisation’s 33-year history, according to preliminary figures released today.
MSI family planning and reproductive health services across 43 countries averted over nine million unintended pregnancies, 2.6 million unsafe abortions, and nearly 35,000 maternal deaths, reducing global maternal mortality by about six percent. Most of MSI’s health impact in developing countries occurred in rural areas or urban slums, where the need for family planning and reproductive health services is greatest.
MSI’s family planning and safe abortion services spared individual households and national health budgets in developing countries more than US$1.5 billion in 2009. “MSI continues to expand and evolve while maintaining our principles and our commitment to quality,”
said MSI’s Chief Executive Dana Hovig. “Our focus on improving the quality, efficiency and impact of our programmes globally has produced the third consecutive year of robust growth in our contribution to reducing maternal deaths and achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5.”
Hovig attributed MSI’s 2009 results in part to increased investment by international donor partners such as the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). “The decision of the Dutch Government and UNFPA to increase their investment in MSI has had a direct effect on our ability to expand choice – of contraceptive method and of provider – for low-income women in the developing world,”
Last year, Marie Stopes International:
- added 55 clinics to an existing network of 560 clinics, and hundreds more outreach sites in rural areas and urban slums
- expanded and improved the quality of its BlueStar social franchising network, launched in 2007, to over 1,000 private sector franchisees in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Madagascar and Viet Nam
- provided over 1.6 million women or men with long-acting and permanent methods of contraception, a 33% increase on 2008
- delivered over 920,000 safe medical and surgical abortions, a 56% increase on the previous year’s results
- accounted for 20% of all modern method contraceptive use in Malawi, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, and 10% of all use in Kenya, Nepal, the Philippines, Uganda and Yemen.
“Achieving record results in 2009 cannot be an excuse for complacency,” said Hovig. “Quite the contrary, there is so much for all of us to do. We will continue to strive until every one of the 215 million women who want to use modern contraception but cannot access it is able to do so.”