Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (104)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

104. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if it is the policy of Irish Aid to support health services overseas that include the provision of termination of pregnancy services; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44572/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Improving maternal and reproductive health is an important focus of Ireland's international development policy with health system strengthening at the heart of Ireland’s approach. Ireland works through the World Health Organisation, with organisations such the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria and with civil society partners to ensure access to essential drugs, health services, and best practice, including building more effective health workforces, with an emphasis on better health outcomes for women and children. Ireland recognises that quality health systems must include access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services if women's health outcomes are to be transformed, including reducing maternal and child mortality.

This is acknowledged in the Sustainable Development Goals: if the ambition of the SDGs is to be achieved, there must be a continued reduction in the millions of women at risk each year of dying from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. These risks are most acute in developing countries. For example, Mozambique, where Ireland has consistently invested in the health sector, achieved a reduction in its maternal mortality ratio from 700 to 318 per 100,000 births over the period 2002-15. While this was a great achievement, it is evident that more needs to be done to strengthen the health system there develop if this ratio is to approach Ireland's maternal mortality ratio of 6 per 100,000 births over the same period. The Government's policy for international development, A Better World , published last February continues Ireland’s longstanding focus on improving the health of women and girls, as part of Ireland’s contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.