24 Feb 2010

Family Planning service in Pacific is patchy says spokesperson

11:50 am on 24 February 2010

A Family Planning spokesperson says its service in the Pacific is patchy and could be more comprehensive if New Zealand and Australia agreed to devote funding to it.

A recommendation that the two countries ring fence 15 percent of their development assistance to sexual and reproductive health is contained in a new report by the New Zealand Parliamentarians' Population and Development Group.

The report says a drop in funding for family planning has contributed significantly to the poor progress made on maternal health, and says some of the ring fenced funding should be directed towards it.

Dr Jackie Edmond, the chief executive of Family Planning in New Zealand says the service could do more if it had allocated funding.

"Some of the things around training traditional birth attendants, offering birthing packs, that we'd be able to spread the net a bit wider than we can at the moment."

Dr Edmond says Family Planning has not been able to offer an adequate range of contraceptives in the region because of the lack of funding.