(KPL) UNFPA Laos convened a family planning advocacy meeting in Luang Prabang Province, Lao PDR, to garner support from relevant sectors to jointly address the unmet needs of family planning in Laos.
Around 100 participants from eight northern provinces of the Lao PDR attended the meeting, including members from health, education, youth union, women’s union and the Lao Front for National Development.
The meeting was held soon after the Nairobi Summit on ICPD25, when governments and partners made bold commitments to transform the world by ending all maternal deaths, unmet need for family planning and gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030.
At the Nairobi Summit, the national government of the Lao PDR pledged strong support to the Nairobi Statement and reiterated its commitments to further advance the ICPD PoA and 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The national commitments from the Lao PDR included targets and plans of programme actions towards ensuring rights and choices for all in the country.
One of the commitments was the specific goal to end unmet need for family planning, including among adolescent girls, by 2030.
At the opening, Dr. Phonepaseuth Ounaphom, Deputy Director of Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, Ministry of Health, highlighted that the government aims to ensure family planning for everyone, not only for parents or couples, but for all people regardless of their sex, gender, background, social or economic status.
He stressed that the government will continue to highlight the importance of family planning in the upcoming 9th national social and economic development plan (9th NSEDP).
To fulfill the renewed commitments on ICPD25, relevant sectors at all levels must act together to ensure family planning information and services reach the most vulnerable.
Ms. Mariam Khan, UNFPA Representative to the Lao PDR, reiterated that family planning is central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development. She stressed that universal access to family planning leads to the reduction of school dropouts, breaking the cycle of poverty, tackling malnourishment, and delaying early pregnancy.
For all individuals to unleash the full potential, and for the country to reap demographic dividends, family planning is the bedrock for the Lao PDR’s graduation from the Least Development Country status and achievement of sustainability in the long run.
While committing UNFPA’s continued support in closing the gaps in family planning across the country, Ms. Mariam Khan stressed that all stakeholders at all levels must join hands together with different roles in the provision of information and services, particularly to reach the most vulnerable, including adolescent girls and those left behind due to economic and cultural barriers.
In the Lao PDR, about 15 per cent of married women would like to plan childbearing, but are not able to use modern method of contraception. Unmet need is high particularly among young women, women with no education and the poorest women with 75 per cent of
Source: Lao News Agency