Sunday, 18 November 2018 | News today: 6

World Population Day focuses on family planning as human right

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Although modern contraception was introduced many years ago, there are still girls and women who do not have access to it, said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton at Tuesday’s observance of World Population Day, dedicated this year to family planning as a human right.

Vinton said about 225 million women worldwide do not use safe and efficient methods for family planning because of lack of access to information and services, but also no support from the partner or the community.

“Family planning services should be set up in every country. Family planning encourages people and develops nations,” stressed Vinton.

Brankica Mladenovikj, head of the health center for protection of mothers and children, said women are not the only ones benefiting from family planning, but also children, met, families, adolescents, communities.

“It is a universal human right to have information, means and power, to decide if, when and how often can the woman reproduce,” stressed Mladenovikj.

She added that the insufficient use of contraception in Macedonia is possibly owed to the low level of information over the existing methods and benefits of family planning, prejudice and wrong suggestions, access and means, gender inequality, economic dependency of women, as well as traditional and cultural norms.

“Unplanned pregnancy represents a significant public health problem. Forty percent of all pregnancies are unplanned, fifty percent of which end in abortion. Family planning has health, economic and social benefits,” underlined Mladenovikj.

Health Education and Research Association (HERA) executive director Bojan Jovanovski said use of contraception among youth is important in order to prevent unplanned pregnancy, for the purpose of gender equality, because of the medical benefits, as well as in lowering the risk of uterine cancer, making them healthier, more educated and productive.

“Recommendations include health education, gradual increase of the national budget for preventive programmes, efforts to dispel prejudice, involvement of general practitioners in the process, making contraception  more accessible, as well as involve the civil society in education and services,” said Jovanovski.