The assistant country representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has informed that investing in family planning is investing in health and rights of women and couples worldwide.
Momodou Mboge made this comment on Monday during a press briefing with journalists at the National Population Commission Secretariat in Banjul on the eve of the World Population Day 2017.
Organized by the office of the National Population Commission Secretariat in collaboration with its stakeholders like UNFPA, Family Planning, GBOS, Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs among others was centred on the theme: Family Planning: Empowering people, Developing Nations.
Mboge informed journalists that these investments also yield economic and other gains that can propel development forward and are thus critical to the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its accompanying 17 SDGs.
According to him, this year’s World Population Day coincided with the London Family Planning Summit, the second meeting of the consortium of donors and stakeholders that make up the FP2020-Family Planning-initiative which aim to expand access to voluntary family planning to 120 million additional women by 2020.
He informed journalists that the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) marked a paradigm shift in the field of population and development thus replacing a demographically driven approach with one that is based on individuals and couples rights to decide freely and responsibly whether or when to start a family.
“Universal access to sexual and reproductive health services including voluntary planning has been the centrepiece of the new paradigm,” Mboge informed journalists.
He said access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right, is central to gender equality and women’s empowerment and is a key factor in reducing poverty.
Mboge disclosed that in 2015, approximately 12.7 million adolescent girls between the ages of 15 to 19 in developing countries had an unmet demand for family planning adding that in this same age group in developing countries, an estimated 14.5 million girls become mothers every year.
He described Family Planning as a life-saving intervention which prevent unintended pregnancies and in turn reduces health risks of childbirth and recourse to unsafe abortions.
Male and female condoms can also reduce the risk of STIs infections because this type of intervention is crucial in humanitarian crises thus often characterized by sexual violence, intimate-partner violence and child marriage and high risk behaviour.
The director of National Population Commission Secretariat, Saikou Trawally informed journalists that this year’s World Population Day 2017 centred on Family Planning, its empowerment with people and the development of nations.
He said the world over marked 11th July every year as World Population Day thus the objective of this day is to create awareness on population and development issues as they relate to each other.
“We should not see family planning as just mere pill taking thus it cut across everything we do just like population and it is one key factor that can help reduce poverty, it is one key factor that can help empowering women,” Trawally informed journalists.
The programme officer, Reproductive Child Health (R.C.H) at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Famara Fatty informed journalists about the important of Family Planning.
According to Fatty, important of FP allows people to attain their desired number of children, having children more than five years or less than two years apart can cause both a mother and her children serious health consequences.
The financial consequence of having children involves the medical costs of pregnancy and birth and the high costs associated with actually bringing up children, parents been responsible for providing education, shelter, clothing and food for their children and family planning has an important long-term impact on the financial situation of any family.
by Lamin B. Darboe