Laos placed among the lowest contraception usage in Asia
Laos, Nepal and Myanmar are the countries which have the lowest number of contraceptive users in Asia, according to the latest United Nations' figures.
The figures from the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs, compiled by ANN/DataLeads, show wide disparities in the use of contraceptives within Asia.
All three countries have just over 50 percent contraception usage with Laos (53 percent) and Nepal and Myanmar (52 percent) each for contraception practice.
Minister of Health Associate Prof. Dr Bounkong Syhavong told Vientiane Times on Monday that the majority of Lao people living in towns are keen to practice contraception as they don't want to have many children.
Meanwhile, in the rural areas, fewer people now about contraception methods and birth spacing.
“You can see that some people still have several babies, which affects their family's wealth level,” Dr Bounkong said.
The minister said that in towns people tend to have a smaller number of babies due to economic pressures.
The rising costs of living, education and healthcare are among the main reasons why city people choose to have fewer children.
Dr Bounkong said a stronger education campaign is needed to teach rural communities about contraception methods, family planning and birth spacing so they can plan their families properly and minimise problems.
According to the latest Lao Population and Housing Census conducted in 2015, the Lao population now exceeds 6.49 million people. The growth rate between 2005 and 2015 was 1.45 percent, down from 2.08 percent recorded in the previous 10 year period.
Countries with the highest number of women using contraception in Asia include China, Republic of Korea and Thailand.
In China, there is 83 percent usage of contraceptives while in Korea and Thailand the figure is 78 percent, according to the ANN/DataLeads.
Vietnam (76 percent), Sri Lanka (71 percent) Bhutan (67 percent), Singapore (66 percent) and Bangladesh (64 percent) also have a high contraceptive prevalence, vis-a-vis their total population sizes.
Other Asean countries which also have higher usage of contraceptives than Laos are Indonesia (62 percent), Cambodia (57 percent), Malaysia (57 percent) and the Philippines (54 percent).
Indonesia and India, which are among the fastest growing economies in the region, have 62 and 59 percent contraceptive users respectively.
The maximum level of contraception in Asia is found mainly in the eastern and south eastern regions, though other Asian regions also include some countries with high prevalence. Meanwhile, growth in the number of contraceptive users is projected to be specifically high for south Asia.
Pakistan, though, has among the lowest contraception use in Asia, with just 38 percent prevalence.
By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update April 6, 2017)