Westminster Diary

2nd October 2019

Every 11 seconds, somewhere in the world, a pregnant woman or new-born baby dies.

More than 9 in 10 of all maternal deaths occur in the world’s poorest countries.

In most cases, with the right care, these deaths are preventable.

The reality for many women in the developing world, is they do not have access to the vital rights, medicines and services that make such a difference to expecting mothers in the UK.

Of course, these tragedies are not limited to the developing world. Families in the UK also suffer the heartbreak of losing a child or a mother, but while their pain is of course no less bearable it is, thankfully, far less common.

Since 2010 in the UK there has been a 19 per cent reduction in stillbirths and an eight per cent reduction in maternal mortality.

Internationally, UK aid has supported developing countries to reduce maternal deaths.

However, while we have made progress, that progress is not felt all round the world.

This is clearly not acceptable.

As International Development Secretary, I am ramping up the UK’s efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children in the developing world by 2030.

Through UK aid, we will work with international partners to boost our support for developing countries to ensure the world’s poorest have access to the medicines that they need and a healthcare system they can be proud of – as proud as we are of our Royal Berkshire Hospital.

We will also make sure women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the heart of that. Last month, at the United Nations General Assembly, I announced a £600 million Reproductive Health Supplies programme. This will give 20 million women and girls access to family planning each year up to 2025.

This Conservative Government is committed to defending and promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and will continue to fight against the attempted global rollback on women’s rights.

We will invest more in vaccines and research so developing countries benefit from the very best of British and international expertise. We will work with the international community with drive and determination to ensure that wherever somebody is born, they have access to the vital services they need.

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