Melinda Gates backs contraception for healthier, wealthier future

Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, listens to a question during a news conference before her address to the 67th World Health Assembly in GenevaGiving the millions of women who need it contraception and pregnancy advice will help avoid illness, disadvantage and poverty for current and future generations, Melinda Gates said on Monday. The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters she is encouraged by progress in the past two years in putting family planning at the center of woman and child health programs, but says more needs to be done to ensure all women can choose freely whether and when to have children. "It makes such a huge difference to families when women can plan," she said in a telephone interview to talk about a report published on Monday on efforts to increase access to contraception advice in poorer countries. So when they are educated about how their current children will be healthier, better fed, and better educated — which we know from long-term research — that's why they are ready to make changes." Gates, whose foundation is one of the largest philanthropic funders of global health projects in poor countries, spearheaded an international summit in London in 2012 aimed at making access to birth control a central part of health and development aid projects in developing countries.



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