UNFPA for providing vulnerable people access to family planning services

Kathmandu, July 10

Vulnerable women, especially those who are financially poor, have been facing social, economic and geographical obstacles in availing voluntary family planning services and information on a regular basis, said the United Nations Population Fund.

Issuing a statement today on the occasion of World Population Day, UNFPA Acting Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem said despite the dramatic progress in family planning, enormous challenges remain. This year, the theme of the Day is ‘Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations’.

The preliminary findings of Nepal Demographic Health Survey 2016 shows 53 per cent of the currently married women use a method of family planning, with 43 per cent of them use modern methods, while the remaining 10 per cent adopt traditional methods.

It also shows that 69 per cent of the potential demand for family planning is being met at present. Many women, mainly in remote areas of Nepal, still lack safe and effective family planning methods. “Fulfilling their demand would save lives by averting unintended pregnancies and reducing maternal deaths,” Dr Natalia said.

The Programme of Action of the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development adopted by 179 countries, including Nepal, stresses on achieving universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning. “Not only is this a matter of protecting health and health rights, but it is also a matter of investing in economic development as well as humanity’s prosperity and progress,” she said.

Better reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, can contribute to sustainable development by empowering women to complete their education, join the paid labour force, be more productive in their jobs, earn higher incomes and increase savings and investments. Investments in family planning help bring prosperity for all.

“Family planning, therefore, is critical to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1, which is to end poverty,” she said, adding that it is also the key to achieving other goals, such as ending hunger as well as promoting good health and gender equality.

“UNFPA has set an ambitious, transformative goal to meet all demands for family planning by 2030. On this World Population Day, we call on all stakeholders to help achieve this goal,” she added.