World Population Day 2018: Family planning is a human right
(VNF) - This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was, for the first time, globally affirmed as a human right. The Tehran Proclamation states that, "Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children."
Domestic and international experts discuss population and family planning policies at a meeting to mark World Population Day 2018 in Hanoi on July 11. (Photo: NDO/Trung Hung)
Why family planning is key to sustainable development?
Providing family planning services, including counselling and contraceptives, is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions that money can buy, contributing directly to dramatic reductions in maternal mortality and morbidity and ensuring inpiduals, communities and nations can make the best of themselves.
When a woman can plan her family, she can plan her life. She can pursue more education, seek and keep better jobs, and contribute more to her family, her nation and to global prosperity. As she becomes better-off financially, her children receive better education, and the benefits carry over well into future generations.
Over the last 20 years, Asia and the Pacific has seen impressive improvements in sexual and reproductive health. This is due in part to the increased use of modern contraceptives and improvements in the provision of reproductive and sexual health care. Yet despite improvements, there are still 140 million women across the region with an unmet need for family planning, with over 70 million women living in South Asia alone.
Achieving the world’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will depend significantly on how well the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people are fulfilled, meeting their unmet need for family planning is among the most cost-effective investments countries can make.
Standards to uphold the human right to family planning
According to UN, human right to family planning is upheld based on nine standards:
Non-discrimination: Family planning information and services cannot be restricted on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, political affiliation, national origin, age, economic status, place of residence, disability status, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Available: Countries must ensure that family planning commodities and services are accessible to everyone.
Accessible: Countries must ensure that family planning commodities and services are accessible to everyone.
Acceptable: Contraceptive services and information must be provided in a dignified manner, respecting both modern medical ethics and the cultures of those being accommodated.
Good quality: Family planning information must be clearly communicated and scientifically accurate.
Informed decision-making: Every person must be empowered to make reproductive choices with full autonomy, free of pressure, coercion or misrepresentation.
Privacy and confidentiality: All inpiduals must enjoy the right to privacy when seeking family planning information and services.
Participation: Countries have an obligation to ensure the active and informed participation of inpiduals in decisions that affect them, including health issues.
Accountability: Health systems, education systems, leaders and policymakers must be accountable to the people they serve in all efforts to realize the human right to family planning.
Family planning in Viet Nam
In recent decades, Viet Nam has made considerable improvements in its family planning service delivery system.
Various impressive figures of the progress were reported at an national level anniversary of the World Population Day held today in Hanoi by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Vietnam and the Ministry of Health.
Accordingly, ongoing investment has meant that contraceptives, services and information are available to virtually the entire nation. As a result, the rate of modern contraceptive use increased from 37% in 1988 to 67% in 2016.
At the same time, the country’s maternal mortality rate dropped significantly from 233 deaths per 100,000 live births in the 1990s to 58 per 100,000 live births in 2016.
The nation’s reproductive rate also dropped by more than half, from an average of five children per couple in the 1970s to a replacement rate of 2.09 in 2006.
A Sexual and Reproductive Health Clinic in Viet Nam. The country has expanded reproductive health services, which include family planning, pre- and post-natal care and HIV prevention. UNFPA/Doan Bau Chau
According to Deputy Minister of Health, Pham Le Tuan, all the results of population and family planning work have contributed significantly to Vietnam’s socio-economic development, especially towards poverty reduction, social protection, healthcare and the successful implementation of the Millennium Development Goals - setting a strong foundation for the Sustainable Development Goals.
Family planning investments have resulted in savings in spending on social services and yielded an increase of 2% of GDP per capita, Tuan stressed.
However, challenges remain, as amongst young unmarried people, the need for modern contraceptives is as high as 30%. Gaps also persist in the provision of information and services for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, including ensuring access to quality comprehensive sexuality education.
Bridging these gaps for the entire population, including ethnic minorities and people living in remote areas, will help each person to fulfill their potential. Investing in young people's health and development will also help the country to reap significant long-term socio-economic benefits.
Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, speaks at the event. (Photo: NDO/Trung Hung)
Speaking at the event, Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, called for joint efforts to build a future where zero is the only acceptable number: zero maternal deaths, zero unmet demand for family planning, and zero violence and harmful practices against women and girls.
“A future in which we fulfill the hopes and dreams for millions in Asia and the Pacific, including Vietnam, in alignment with the central pledge of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its SDGs - to ensure that absolutely no one is left behind,” she said./.
( VNF )