Published: Monday 31 May 1999

The United Nations' Population Fund (UNFPA) has denied reports that the emergency reproduction health kits sent to Albanian women, running away from the war in Kosovo, contained abortion pills. The executive director of UNFPA, Nafis Sadik, denied that health kits contained RU-486 pill, which is often used for abortion. Sadik said the kit only contained emergency contraception -- or the morning after pill -- which is an elevated dose of birth control pill. UNFPA also criticised the Vatican for condemning the provision of emergency contraception to refugees fleeing Kosovo and said it showed an insensitivity to the suffering of the women there.

Shortfall in the resources to fund family planning and reproductive health services were the main issues which were discussed at the recent meeting of various government representatives at the United Nations' headquarters in New York. The meeting was held to review the progress of the Cairo Programme of Action adopted at the International Conference on Population and Development in Egypt in 1994. Donor nations like the US, the UK and Germany have not met their commitment of devoting four per cent of official development assistance to family planning and reproductive health as yet.

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