July 12, 2012
Lao government reaffirmed the commitment to achieve Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 and commits to invest more to ensure that every woman, every man and every young have access to reproductive health care in 2015, said Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong.
This was a message of Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI), Dr Bounthavy, during the coming World Population Day (WPD) 2012 read in Vientiane yesterday.
The commitment also helps them gaining access to reproduction health care, the voluntary family planning, assisted childbirth and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
This will directly impact on achieving the other MDG targets in Laos, as we ascend to graduating from Least Developed Country in 2020.
Each year on 11 July, MPI in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund lead the way in celebrating the WPD, which was established to mark the Day of 5 billion world population in 1987 and after 24 years later we observed the world population reaching 7 billion on 31 October 2011, the message read.
He continued that this year, the WPD highlights the need to ensure “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Service”, one of the targets of the MDG 5 “Improve Maternal Health”. Ensuring universal access to reproductive health services is an important component of the international convention on population and development, programme of action, signed in 1994 by 179 countries, including Laos.
Universal access to reproductive health is about the rights and health of women, men and young people, and it is about building communities and nation. We want to make sure that in Laos “every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled…”
Access to family planning services has increased and contraceptives are available in an estimated 84 % of public health facilities and the private sector. However, access is still very limited for some marginalised groups who include those in remote areas, ethnic groups, young and unmarried women as well as men.
Women start childbearing early (about 38 % of women had given birth before the age of 18) and contraceptive prevalence remains at 35 %. Each pregnancy increases a woman’s chance of dying from complications of pregnancy and or childbirth. Maternal deaths are particularly high for young and poor women, those who have least access to reproductive health services including contraceptive.
The access to contraceptives empowers women, and men, while saving lives. Ensuring access to voluntary family planning can reduce maternal deaths b a third and child deaths by 20 %.
Reaching the MDGs in particular reducing maternal death remains a challenge to Laos.
The statistics has showed that every day in Laos more than two women and many newborns die because of complications during pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman who dies many more suffer from illness or disability from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Sadly, many of these deaths are young women, some of whom were embarking on pregnancy for the first time.
Maternal and newborn deaths hurt families, slow economic growth and lead to huge productivity losses each year. Conversely, investing in improved health for women and babies has far-reaching benefits for nations. For example, between one third and one haft of Asia’s economic growth from 1965 to 1990 has been attributed to improvements in reproductive health reductions in infant/child deaths and fertility rates.