Vietnam observes World Population Day 2018

Wednesday, 2018-07-11 15:20:40
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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)
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NDO - Vietnamese authorities, civil society organisations and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Asia and the Pacific have reaffirmed their commitments and support to ensuring universal access to family planning and leaving no one behind on the occasion of World Population Day, which falls on July 11 this year.

The Ministry of Health joined UNFPA in Vietnam to organise a meeting to observe the annual event at the Vietnam Youth Academy in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Delegates at the event discussed the progress made as well as challenges both in Vietnam and across Asia Pacific in advocating for and implementing crucial services and information related to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, including family planning.

Vietnam has made huge strides in ensuring access to family planning. 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.

On the back of this progress, Vietnam’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.

Deputy Minister of Health, Pham Le Tuan, stresses Vietnam’s progresses in population and family planning work. (Photo: NDO/Trung Hung)

Addressing the event, Deputy Minister of Health, Pham Le Tuan, said that 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)

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 added.

A photo exhibition featuring UNFPA activities in Vietnam held on the sidelines of the event. (Photo: NDO/Trung Hung)

TRUNG HUNG