The lives of up to 250,000 mothers and babies will be put at risk by ‘devastating’ cuts to the UK’s contribution to the UN’s reproductive health agency, it is claimed.
Britain’s funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) family planning programme is expected to fall from £154million to just £23million this year.
UNFPA executive director Dr Natalia Kanem said the decision ‘will be devastating for women and girls and their families across the world’.
She said the missing funds would have prevented about 250,000 maternal and child deaths, 14.6million unintended pregnancies and 4.3million unsafe abortions.
Conservative peer Baroness Sugg, who resigned from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office last year over aid cuts, said the decision was a ‘double hit’ on the world’s poorest.
Asked about the reduction, Boris Johnson said: ‘We are still one of the biggest donors in the world and I think people in this country should be very proud of that.’
But he added: ‘I know that other countries around the world understand the particular pressures of the pandemic that mean we have to economise in that way.’
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