Despite Shutdown, Grant for 'Reproductive Health' for Pakistan Considered 'Essential'

Despite Shutdown, Grant for 'Reproductive Health' for Pakistan Considered 'Essential'

During the government shutdown, death benefits to military families who have made the ultimate sacrifice may have stopped, but “essential” items – like grants for “reproductive health” in Pakistan – are being funded.

Elizabeth Harrington at the Washington Free Beacon reported Thursday that the federal government has decided the collection of grant proposals for the improvement of reproductive health of women in Pakistan is “essential,” and, therefore, should be funded.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a grant on Thursday hoping to obtain applicants who would administer “family planning” in Pakistan through its Maternal and Child Health (MCH) program.

According to the proposal, the first priority of the project is Family Planning/Reproductive Health:

In order to support the overall goal of the MCH Program, this third Component of Health Communication will focus on the development, introduction, scale up, and evaluation of high impact communication interventions to improve the health-related behaviors of individuals and communities, especially married women of reproductive age (MWRA) and those who most directly influence them. The project will foster positive health practices in households and communities and support changes in cultural norms that will enable, reinforce and maintain these practices.

USAID is accepting applications through November with the cost of the project listed as $24.5 million.

According to the USAID website, the organization “has committed to contribute to the goal of 100 million additional users of modern methods of family planning by 2015.”

USAID boasts that, since it began its Family Planning program, contraceptive use in 27 countries has increased from under 10 percent to 37 percent, with the number of children per family dropping from over 6 to 4.5.

In addition, in 2012 USAID says it supplied 751 million condoms, 64.6 million oral contraceptive, 36.3 million injectables, 1.6 million IUDs, and 1 million implants to 45 countries.

According to a USAID memorandum from the assistant administrator for management, dated September 27th, in the case of a government shutdown:

Any new grants or cooperative agreements during the period of a lapse in appropriations, unless award of the grant or cooperative agreement is necessary to support emergency activities or is critical to the conduct of foreign affairs should not be awarded.