24 Feb 2010

Calls for NZ and Australia to devote 15 percent of aid to sexual and reproductive health

11:52 am on 24 February 2010

A New Zealand parliamentarians group says it is encouraging the Australian and New Zealand governments to devote 15 percent of their development assistance to sexual and reproductive health.

The recommendation from the population and development parliamentarians group is contained in a new report that arose from a Pacific maternal health hearing last September.

The group's chair Dr Jackie Blue says its unacceptable that five women a day die in the Pacific due to pregnancy or childbirth related causes.

Dr Blue says the group has organised a meeting with New Zealand's foreign, health, pacific and women's ministers in April to discuss the recommendation.

"Certainly I think its achievable and we really have to do it. At the open hearing in September we heard from NZAID and the percentage of money going for sexual and reproductive health which was largely including HIV was only 5% of our foreign aid budget to the Pacific. So really we are way off the 15% and that's a target we really have to try and achieve."

Dr Blue says the group will also be asking Australia and New Zealand to help train the Pacific health workforce.