Nairobi — More than 250 religious leaders, executives of faith-based organizations, and supporting partners have endorsed an Interfaith Declaration to Improve Family Health and Well-Being, calling on governments and donors to partner with faith-based organizations helping them to bring their faith to action in enabling families to plan the timing and spacing of their pregnancies, consistent with their faith.
The Family Planning Summit 2012 is a welcome and promising response. Our faith traditions and spiritual values passionately draw us to end needless suffering due to lack of information and health services to enable families to plan their desired timing and spacing of pregnancies. We will work tirelessly with partners at the Family Planning Summit, and we commend the work of the Summit with appreciation and gratitude.
Interfaith Declaration to Improve Family Health and Well-Being
We, leaders of religious institutions and faith-based organizations (FBO), believe that health is a universal value held by all faiths and a universal right for human beings.
Our faith traditions, spiritual values and commitment to social justice lead us to believe passionately that families should not suffer needlessly because they lack access to health services.
We acknowledge the evidence that the health benefits of access to education and services, and thereby averting unintended pregnancies, can be substantial. Each year lack of family planning services and education in developing countries results in an estimated 600,000 newborn deaths; 150,000 maternal deaths from abortion and other pregnancy-related causes; and at least 340,000 children lose their mother.
We recognize the importance of access to information about and services to enable families to plan the timing and spacing of their pregnancies consistent with their faith for family well-being, for achievement of country health targets and to support achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
We respect the choice of families based on their own faith and needs and know that stronger, healthier and thriving families and communities result when couples jointly plan their families.
In this Declaration, we commit to leveraging our networks to support family health by providing education and services that enable families to plan the timing and spacing of their pregnancies consistent with their faith. We call on others to support this initiative to influence government and donor policies and funding.
(Statement crafted in Nairobi, June 2011, by interfaith consultation involving Muslims, Protestant Christians, Catholic Christians, Buddhists, and Hindus)