MSH Supports UNFPA Funding

BOSTON, MA (JANUARY 17, 2002)

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Via Facsimile: 202-456-2461

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of Management Sciences for Health, I am writing to urge you to fully support the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the amount of $34 million- the sum appropriated for fiscal year (FY) 2002 in a bi-partisan agreement reached by Congress last month. UNFPA plays a crucial role in saving women and children's lives around the world, and the United States must continue to support their efforts.

Your administration has highlighted the importance of UNFPA's work many times in the past year. In May, Secretary of State Colin Powell testified to Congress that UNFPA "provides critical population assistance to developing countries." Then, in October, in addition to the millions of dollars you provided to UNFPA through regular FY 2001 appropriations, Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky, formally announced that $600,000 of the special assistance you initiated for Afghanistan was to be allocated to UNFPA to assist Afghan women refugees.

As an organization with over twenty years of experience in Afghanistan, we at Management Sciences for Health are keenly aware of the contribution that UNFPA has made in this country and around the globe. Afghanistan continues to have one of the highest rates of maternal mortality, with approximately 16 out of every 100 women dying during delivery. Most Afghan women give birth at home without a trained birth attendant present, putting the mother at great risk of injury or death. As part of its vital basic care services, UNFPA is distributing Clean Delivery Kits to the women of Afghanistan, and is making the difference between life and death for many mothers. As the crisis in Afghanistan unfolds, the United States must continue to fund UNFPA to meet the basic health care needs of Afghan women and children.

It is imperative that UNFPA continue its services to save women's lives throughout the world, especially in Afghanistan. I urge you to provide the full $34 million in funding that Congress has appropriated for UNFPA.

Sincerely,
Catherine D. Crone Coburn
President
Management Sciences for Health