UN urges action on reproductive health
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 07:28:25 GMT
The United Nations population fund has urged Member States and partners to take quick action to facilitate universal access to reproductive health.
“We need to keep pushing to make universal access to reproductive health a reality,” said Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) calling for the empowerment of women and poverty alleviation.
“Investing in the health and rights of women and young people is not an expenditure; it is an investment in our future,” he said on Monday at the opening of a five-day session of the UN Commission on Population and Development at the UN Headquarters in New York.
According to the UN, one of the most urgent actions required is the closing of the $24-billion gap in funding required to finance programs to meet the needs of 1.8 billion young people and 1.8 billion women of childbearing age globally.
Already, family planning and demographic change alone reduced poverty by one-seventh in developing countries between 1960 and 2000, and could produce another one-seventh drop in poverty levels by 2015, says a recent report by the Office of the UN Secretary-General.
If existing requirements for modern contraceptives were met, nearly 100,000 maternal deaths could be averted and unintended pregnancies could be cut by 71 percent, the report estimates.
“Some 215 million women in developing countries, who want to plan and space their births do not have access to modern contraception,” Osotimehin said.
Each year, he added, “neglect of sexual and reproductive health results in an estimated 80 million unintended pregnancies; 22 million unsafe abortions; and 358,000 deaths from maternal causes - including 47,000 deaths from unsafe abortion.”