Sex, Reproduction, and the MDGs: Why Funding for Reproductive Health Care is Critical to Combatting Global Poverty
This week, the World Bank reported that Latin America and Africa are the only two regions that have not met the Millennium Development Goal to reduce extreme poverty. Latin America may be the wealthiest region in the developing world on a per capita basis, but it also has one of the most unequal income distributions in the world. Statistical averages across the region mask the existence of the significant inequality within it that hinders access to sexual and reproductive health services for the region's most vulnerable -- in particular, rural, poor, indigenous, and youth populations.
Sexual and reproductive health is fundamental to our overall well-being, and investment in sexual and reproductive health care holds enormous benefits for individuals and societies. The right of women and men to control their fertility and have reliable access to quality health services is at the center of contemporary reproductive health and sustainable development policies. Still, nearly half of sexually active young women in Latin America and the Caribbean have an unmet need for contraception.