UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Monday urged world leaders to boost funding for reproductive health, including family planning, and put women's health at the center of their national plans to reduce the number of women dying of conditions related to pregnancy.
"Now is the time to move from speech lines to budget lines," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, UNFPA's Executive Director at a function on the sidelines of the Millennium Development Goals summit at the UN Headquarters in New York.
"Women deliver for their families, communities and nations, and now it is time to deliver for women. No woman should die giving life. There are still 1,000 women who die needlessly every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. There are still 215 million women with an unmet need for family planning and 2 million women suffering from the devastating childbirth injury of obstetric fistula," she added.
She said allocating more resources to reproductive health programs would result in increased productivity, economic growth and widen the rights of women.
"The health of women is not the focus of the health sector alone. The health of women depends on planning and investments across many sectors -- in education, health, nutrition, gender equality, and infrastructure," Obaid said.
Obaid assured world leaders that UNFPA was committed to helping states strengthen their health systems and achieve universal access to reproductive health by 2015.
"We are working with WHO (UN World Health Organization), UNICEF (UN Children's Fund), UNAIDS (Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS) and the World Bank to reduce high rates of maternal and newborn deaths in high priority countries," she said.
"Together with the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, UNFPA aims to expand family planning to 100 million women by 2015. We are supporting national counterparts to train and deploy midwives, and also to prevent and treat fistula," she added.