Press Release

15 November 2012

Additional Investments in Family Planning Would Save Developing Countries More Than $11 Billion a Year

Access to family planning is an essential human right that unlocks unprecedented rewards for economic development, says new UNFPA report

HA NOI, 15 November 2012 – Making voluntary family planning available to everyone in developing countries would reduce costs for maternal and newborn health care by $11.3 billion annually, according to The State of World Population 2012, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

Family planning delivers immeasurable rewards to women, families, and communities around the world. By enabling individuals to choose the number and spacing of their children, family planning has allowed women, and their children, to live healthier, longer lives. Looking ahead, if an additional 120 million obtained access to family planning, the report estimates 3 million fewer babies would die in their first year of life.

“Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin at the global report launch in London.  “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women’s increased labour-force participation boosts nations’ economies.”

The State of World Population 2012 says that governments, civil society, health providers and communities have the responsibility to protect the right to family planning for women across the spectrum, including those who are young or unmarried.

Nevertheless, the report finds that financial resources for family planning have declined and contraceptive use has remained mostly steady. In 2010, donor countries fell $500 million short of their expected contribution to sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries. Contraceptive prevalence has increased globally by just 0.1 per cent per year over the last few years.

However, there are signs of progress. Last July, at the London Summit on Family Planning, donor countries and foundations together pledged $2.6 billion to make family planning available to 120 million women in developing countries with unmet needs by 2020. Developing countries themselves pledged $2 billion.

UNFPA SWOP launch

In Viet Nam, data from the Ministry of Health and other population-based surveys indicates that Viet Nam has made substantial progress on family planning by integrating it into the general health services. However, certain population groups, such as adolescents, young and unmarried people, migrants and ethnic minority people, have limited access to family planning services, supplies and information. As a result, a significant number of pregnancies are unexpected, especially among the young and unmarried.
 
Addressing the launch of The State of World Population 2012 in Ha Noi, Mr, Nguyen Viet Tien, Vice Minister of Health, said: “Ensuring universal access to family planning is protecting human rights. The gap between the demand for family planning and the availability of services must be bridged, starting with the most vulnerable: poor women, rural women, young and unmarried people, migrants and ethnic minority people.”
Recent analysis of data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, undertaken by GSO, shows that the unmet need for contraception among married women is estimated at 11.2 percent, and is as high as 34.3 percent among unmarried women. The unmet need for modern methods is 29.4 percent for married women. It is significantly higher for unmarried women (50.4 percent). 

In order to ensure the right to family planning for all, "The government, civil society, health providers and communities must make sure that voluntary family planning is available to all who want it, especially the poor and vulnerable groups, when they want it and that services, supplies and information are of high quality," said Ms. Mandeep K. O'Brien, UNFPA Representative a.i. in Viet Nam.  

With the 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) fast approaching, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Representative, called on the Government, international community, civil society organizations and private sector to join hands to improve universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, and to make voluntary family planning a development priority.
 

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For further information, please contact:
Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh
UN Communications
Tel: (84-4) 3822 4383 – Ext: 117
Mob: 0913 093363
Email: tnguyen@unfpa.org