Want to Cut Aid Spending? Imagine If Giving Birth Was a Game of Russian Roulette

13/06/2016 15:17 | Updated 13 June 2016

Last year, the UK made history when it passed a law ensuring at least 0.7% of the national income would be spent on helping the world's poorest. Even though that's just 7p out of every £10, the impact it has is incredible - UK Aid saves a life every two minutes. But this life saving intervention is at risk.

Earlier this year, the Mail on Sunday published a series of articles claiming that UK Aid is being spent on terrorism and wasteful projects - allegations that the UK government's Department for International Development has powerfully argued are unfounded in reality.

This week MP's will debate on whether the 0.7% law should be scrapped, I can't help but think what life would be like if it was the other way around. When I went into labour, I was in a sterilised hospital surrounded by expert midwives and doctors who had done this a million times before. I was taught how to breastfeed, and in the two years since his birth my son has had all the vaccinations he needs to protect him against deadly diseases. All this without spending a penny in on-the-spot costs. But not everyone is as lucky or privileged as I am.

Giving birth in a developing country can be a game of Russian roulette. Children's chances of surviving their first five years of life have significantly improved over the last 16 years or so, with child mortality rates dropping by almost 50% since 1990. Still, every year nearly 300,000 mothers die from complications during childbirth, while 2.9 million newborns die within the first 28 days of their lives.

UK Aid is playing a vital role for women's rights across the world, ensuring that millions of births take place safely with the help of nurses, midwives or doctors- a perfect example of UK Aid saving the lives of mothers and newborns around the world.

For so little - less than a penny in every pound - UK Aid achieves so much. It should be commended - not condemned - for its work. Is it perfect? Not yet. But now that we've enshrined the target into law, we should move away from debating the amount and work together to ensure that it is as effective as it could be.

As I enter the fifth month of my second pregnancy, I'm immensely privileged to know that I'll have a midwife present at the birth of my child and that I'll be able to protect it from dying from preventable diseases. But these are basic human rights for all people, and should not be the privileges of a lucky few. UK Aid is helping to ensure that everyone, no matter how much money they have or where they live, has access to these basic necessities. And I'm proud to support that.