From our Partners: “Five Big Questions for the Future of Global Family Planning,” IntraHealth

After the smallpox vaccine and the green revolution, modern contraceptives are one of global development’s biggest game-changers.

It’s no coincidence that as global use of modern contraceptives rose from 55% in 1990 to 63% in 2010, global maternal mortality fell by a staggering 45%. In 2013 alone, contraceptives prevented 77 million unintended pregnancies, 24 million unsafe abortions and the deaths of 125,000 women.

Countries are catching on to the demographic dividends that come with robust family planning programs, which can help turn a low-income country into a middle-income country. (Just look at Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore.)

In fact, for less than the cost of a cheeseburger per American per year, we could reduce the world’s population growth by 500 million, saving mothers’ and children’s lives everywhere and helping poor countries prosper like never before.

Over the next 15 years, as countries work toward the new global Sustainable Development Goals, we could make even faster progress. We could see more women empowered to make decisions about their own health and futures. Parents who can achieve the family sizes they want. And economic growth that outpaces population growth, resulting in healthier societies.

So what’s the holdup? And who’s being left behind?

Click here to read the full commentary by Pape Amadou Gaye and Roy Jacobstein of IntraHealth at the Huffington Post.