The UK has just announced £50 million for a fund that works to protect the health of women and children in developing countries around the world — and it will help save the lives of 35 million women and children.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced the funding at a conference in Oslo, Norway, on Tuesday, to help stop women and babies dying in childbirth.
The funding will support what’s known as the Global Financing Facility for Every Woman, Every Child (GFF), which works to find innovative solutions to the world's most pressing health problems.
“Empowering women and girls and investing in health services not only saves lives but also helps the most marginalised people to realise their full potential,” said Mordaunt. “UK aid is supporting the Global Financing Facility to make a bigger impact in this area, bringing together governments and the private sector to fill the gaps in healthcare around the world.”
Five million mothers and children die every year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. This is why the UK is reinvesting in @theGFF to help stop preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths around the world. @WorldBankhttps://t.co/a87zfO8qGO— DFID (@DFID_UK) November 6, 2018
Over the past three months, more than 90,000 Global Citizens have taken action to call on world leaders to stand together with women and children around the world by supporting the GFF — including by signing petitions and sending tweets and emails.
In October, Global Citizen delivered your petition signatures to 10 Downing Street, the London home of UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
And the announcement in Oslo just goes to show that the government is listening to you.
The UK’s new pledge will help countries to transform the way in which they finance the health and nutrition of their own people, particularly women, children, and teenagers.
The conference is being co-hosted by the governments of Norway and Burkina Faso, along with the World Bank Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
It’s the first time since the GFF launched in 2015 that governments, representatives from recipient countries, and stakeholders have all joined together to keep the GFF saving lives.
The goal is to raise $1 billion through the conference itself, and ultimately $2 billion in total in new support between 2018 and 2023.
Every day, more than 800 women and girls die from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth that are entirely preventable — such as blood loss and infection, or low birth weight due to malnutrition. That’s one person dying unnecessarily every two minutes, and 99% of these are in developing countries.
But the GFF will help put a stop to this.
The deaths can be avoided with access to the right medicine, equipment and resources, but maternal, newborn, and child health services are either under-resourced or not easily accessible in many low and lower-middle income countries.
When the Global Financing Facility launched, it was specifically targeting a few countries that were most in need of support for their health systems.
And since then it has expanded dramatically, and now it supports 27 countries in total.
The GFF both provides funding and also works with governments and institutions to help them decide which health efforts should be supported in order to achieve goals for health care.
Disclosure: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a funding partner of Global Citizen.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated to include a disclosure that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a funding partner of Global Citizen. We regret the oversight.