24 Feb 2010

NZ says reproductive health already an aid priority

5:03 pm on 24 February 2010

A health advisor to New Zealand's foreign affairs ministry says it already gives a high priority to sexual and reproductive health.

That comes despite a call for NZAID to boost its funding in that area from four percent in the last financial year to 15 percent of its foreign aid budget.

A report by the New Zealand Parliamentarians Group on Population and Development makes the funding recommendation, because of what it calls the unacceptable rate of five deaths a day in the Pacific due to pregnancy or childbirth.

Health advisor Sally Davidson says NZAID is working with development partners on practical solutions such as training midwives, village health workers, and traditional birth attendants.

"Our support around sexual and reproductive health has been pretty consistent over the years. Its a high priority in our health policy and health strategy so we've accorded the appropriate level of support and focus through our development programme."

Sally Davidson says any decision on ring fencing development assistance for sexual and reproductive health would be made at a ministerial level.