HA NOI (VNS)– More than 200 million women in the world's poorest countries including Viet Nam, especially the young or socially disadvantaged, did not have access to family planning services and information, heard a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
Making voluntary family planning available to everyone in developing countries would reduce costs for maternal and newborn health care by US$11.3 billion annually, according to the State of World Population 2012, launched yesterday by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The report also finds that financial resources for family planning have declined and contraceptive use has remained mostly steady.
However, there are signs of progress. Last July, at the London Summit on Family Planning, donor countries and foundations together pledged $2.6 billion to make it available to 120 million women in developing countries by 2020. Developing countries pledged $2 billion.
In Viet Nam, data from the Ministry of Health and other population-based surveys indicated that Viet Nam had made sustainable progress on family planning by integrating it into general health services.
However, certain population groups such as adolescents, young and unmarried people, migrants and ethnic minority people had limited access to family planning services and information.
As a result, a significant number of pregnancies are unexpected, especially among the young and unmarried groups, who accounted for 85 per cent of unwanted pregnancies.
Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien said: "Ensuring national access to family planning is protecting human rights."
He also suggested that the gap between the demand for family planning and the availability of services must be bridged, starting with the most vulnerable.
Data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, undertaken by the Viet Nam General Statistics Office in 2010, showed that 11.2 per cent of married women had no access to contraception. The figure was 34.3 per cent among unmarried women.
Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organisation representative in Viet Nam, suggested that the Government should adopt a financial policy to support a comprehensive family planning programme and provide national funding to ensure adequate supply and distribution of contraceptives.
Tien said that the government, civil society, medical service providers and communities must make sure that voluntary family planning is available to all who want it.
Tien also suggested diversifying family planning methods and enhancing the responsibility of health workers to inform the public about the choice of methods available. – VNS