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Govt to encourage wider use of contraception

In a bid to lower maternal and child morbidity and mortality, Laos will aim to reduce the unmet need for contraception to 13 percent and increase the contraceptive prevalence rate using at least one method from 42 to 65 percent by 2020.
The nation’s unmet need for family planning remains high at 20 percent, and as high as 31 percent among some ethnic groups. The adolescent birth rate is 76 live births per 1,000 girls in the 15-19 age group, adolescent contraceptive use is low at 22.3 percent, and the unmet need for contraception is 22.6 percent.
These statistics were highlighted at the first National Family Planning Conference held in Vientiane on Tuesday under the theme “Investing in Family Planning for Economic Prosperity”, with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
The conference was presided over by Deputy Prime Minister DrSonexaySiphandone with representatives from UNFPA, World Health Organisation and World Bank also attending.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Health Associate Prof. DrBounkongSyhavong said “Quite simply, family planning provides choice to individuals and families, helping us work towards a future where every pregnancy is wanted and every childbirth is safe.”
“We have seen Laos’ maternal mortality ratio drop from 357 per 100,000 live births in 2012 to 206 per 100,000 live births in 2015, surpassing the Millennium Development Goal target we had set. We have come a long way, but we still have some miles to go to reach the target of 180 per 100,000 live births, in order to graduate from Least Developed Country status in 2020. We couldn’t have done this without family planning along with strengthened midwifery services,” he added.
Greater access to family planning will reduce the number of adolescent pregnancies, allowing young women to attain and maintain good physical health, remain in school to strengthen the foundation for their future, and eventually decide for themselves if and when to have children, and how many.
Globally, family planning has contributed significantly to preventing maternal and child morbidity and mortality.
Reducing maternal mortality was a priority under the Millennium Development Goals and remains a priority under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), with SDG 3 specifically aspiring to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all, at all ages.
Along with UNFPA, significant support is being provided to Laos’ family planning programme by Family Planning 2020, the global initiative funded by a range of donor governments and institutions, and hosted by the United Nations Foundation.
In 1994, the vast majority of UNFPA Member States agreed to the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which recognised “the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice”.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update May 4, 2017)

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