The Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that for every dollar spent for family planning, countries can save $2 to $6 in government expenditures.
In a blog post, ADB Senior Social Development Specialist Susann Roth said these savings can be spent on other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In peso terms, this means for every $1 investment in family planning—equivalent to P46.96 as of Friday’s close—the government can save P93.92 to P281.76.
“The largest benefits are in education and maternal health, as well as water and sanitation, immunization and malaria programs,” Roth said.
Roth added that investments in family planning can help in efforts to reduce poverty and stimulate economic growth. This, she said, is because family planning is not only a personal concern, but a matter of population health, as well.
Investing in family planning can reduce unwanted pregnancies among women. Citing World Health Organization statistics, some 87 million women experience unwanted pregnancies worldwide.
Reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies can bring down the number of infant deaths and child disabilities, and improve the educational and employment potential of children.
“As undesired pregnancies disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable, access to family planning remains a great concern to redress global inequity,” Roth said.
However, Roth lamented the low investments made by governments and development agencies in family planning.
Roth said funding for family planning, as a percentage of total official development assistance, still accounts for only 0.2 percent, and declining.
In 2014 the Philippines only received a total of P1.04 billion to meet goal 5 of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on reducing maternal deaths.
The amount covers three programs that are specifically aimed at addressing MDG 5 needs. These are the P583-million Health Sector Reform Agenda-Support Program; P153.3-million Global Partnership on Output-Based AID; and the P306.6-million 7th UNFPA Country Program-Reproductive Health and Rights Component.
There were also 17 other projects that aimed to address two or more MDGs, including MDG 5, the largest of which include the P7.995-billion Philippine Secondary National Road Development Program; P1.64-billion Credit for Better Health Care Project; and the P1.01-billion Kalahi-Cidds Project under the Millennium Challenge Corp., among others.
“Investing in sexual and reproductive health is, therefore, not only the right thing to do—it is also the smart thing to do for women, families and the entire economy. It’s clearly a public-health best buy,” Roth said.
MDG 5 is also part of the 17 SDGs. The goal is part of SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality ad empower all women and girls.
There are six major targets in SDG 5. Included is the universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, as well as the Beijing Platform for Action.