A new research made public at the ongoing Nairobi International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) Summit has revealed that it would cost the world $264 billion to empower women, over 10 years, on safe motherhood.
This would also help in allowing women to live without fear of death from pregnancy related complications or rights-based violence.
“Currently only $42 billion in development assistance is expected to be spent on advancing these goals, meaning that some $222 billion in investments is required over the next decade, whether in the form of foreign investment, domestic allocation or private spending,” it said.
These are the main findings of a joint study by researchers from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with Victoria University, the University of Washington and Avernir Health.
It said achieving those results was a pre-condition to meeting the global agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
It will also generate cost savings over generations, as healthier women and girls are empowered to contribute to productivity and creativity of society.
Dr Natalia Kanem, the Executive Director of the UNFPA, said the world now knew how much and where to invest as those figures were a drop in the ocean compared to the dividend expected and the funds available.
“These are smart, affordable investments that will transform the lives of women and girls, their societies, and our world,” she said, adding that the cost of inaction would be much higher.
She stated that ending preventable pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths in the 120 countries that accounted for over 52 per cent of maternal mortality would cost $115.5 billion in key maternal health interventions, which includes paying for medical staff, drugs and obstetric supplies.
“This is roughly equivalent to the cost of 46 of the world’s most expensive military planes.”
Dr Kanem, later at a press conference, indicated that ending unmet needs for family planning in 120 priority countries, which comprise the majority of low- and middle-income countries would, however, cost $68.5 billion.
The amount, she said, would go towards ensuring a steady and reliable supply of quality contraceptives and other efforts to strengthen national health systems.
Dr Kanem said ending gender-based violence would also require investing $42 billion in 132 priority countries to be used for programmes that provided psychosocial assistance, medical treatment and rape kits to survivors.
It would also promote the rights of all women and girls to live free of violence and abuse among other interventions.
Again, ending female genital mutilation would require $2.4 billion for interventions related to education and changing social norms in 31 priority countries.
The research further showed that “just $96 can prevent a girl from having her genitalia cut for non-medical reasons,” while the price tag for putting an end to child marriage is $35 billion, which would be enough to ward off 90 per cent of child marriages that take place.”
Dr Kanem noted that meeting these goals would require broad-based actions, which the ICPD25 Nairobi Summit sought to achieve.
“We have a collective responsibility and opportunity to deliver on our promises now because the world cannot wait for another 25 years,” she said.
“It is time to fill these resource gaps and make this a decade of delivery, getting the job done with strong financing momentum to achieve these transformative results, complete the ICPD Programme of Action and meet the SDGs on time by 2030.”
Ms Victoria Chou, a Researcher with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, called for coordination and a united front to get the issues tackled.
“Without everyone pushing the oars together, the bot is not to move far and if we are not in sync, we will simply turn in circles”.
She said closing the substantial gap by providing the urgently needed resources would ultimately improve health among women and their families.
Mr Rasmus Prehn, the Minister for Development Cooperation, Denmark, commended the Kenyan Government for playing an excellent host to the Summit and said the ICPD had been at the forefront of such advocacy since 1994 when it was first held in Cairo, Egypt, which had yielded impressive results, but there was more to be achieved.
Mr Macharia Kamau, the Principal Secretary to the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Government looked up to a Summit that reached out to all people and nations to shape society globally.
The UNFPA is committed to tracking all the commitments made by governments, civil society, and private sector partners to end maternal mortality, unmet family planning needs, gender-based violence, and achieve demographic dividends with young people having access and rights over their sexual and reproductive health.