Family planning is a core component of achieving gender equality and plays an important role in reducing poverty — but 232 million women around the world still lack access to contraceptive methods, according to the United Nations.

“It is very important to assert and reassert that the ability to plan and prevent pregnancy is vital,” Dr. Natalia Kanem, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), told Global Citizen.

According to the UN agency, “few things have a greater impact on the life of a woman than the number and spacing of her children.”

UNFPA Supplies, established in 2007, is a program under the United Nations Population Fund dedicated to expanding access to family planning commodities.

It supports countries with the greatest needs by helping them strengthen their supply chains, thereby increasing women’s and adolescent girls’ ability to access contraceptives and maternal health medicines.

UNFPA Supplies also integrates reproductive health supplies into national policies, strengthens governments’ capacity to manage supply chains and reproductive health services, and secures reproductive health supplies with an aim to increase the quality and reduce the prices of these commodities.

UNFPA Supplies works with governments to build their capacity to better manage systems so that women and adolescent girls can access a range of contraception choices, regardless of where they are located.

UNFPA estimates that 1.3 million lives may have been saved since 2007 through the use of family planning methods provided by the program.  UNFPA Supplies helped governments procure $89 million worth of contraceptives and medicines for maternal health in 2018 alone. This had the potential to prevent an estimated 10 million unintended pregnancies, which in turn averted: 25,000 maternal deaths, over 150,000 child deaths, and 3.2 million unsafe abortions, according to the program.

Read the full article about UNFPA Supplies by Jacky Habib at Global Citizen.