News / Africa

Family Planning for Women in Conflict Areas Seen as Crucial

Pregnant women watch television as they wait in the pre-natal ward at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 10, 2010.
Pregnant women watch television as they wait in the pre-natal ward at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone, September 10, 2010.
James Butty
Wednesday is World Population Day, and the United Nations Population Fund says reproductive health is crucial for development.  

Dr. Dhammika Perera, senior technical advisor for global reproductive health programs at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), said his organization believes that giving women in conflict areas access to family planning is the key to reducing maternal mortality.

“Right now, the estimate this year is that 222 million women in developing countries need, but cannot get access to, modern contraceptive methods, and we firmly believe that, if they are going to expand family planning access with the aim to cut down maternal deaths or pregnancy-related deaths, the target should be giving these women access to these methods,” he said.

Citing numerous studies, the IRC said women in crisis zones are more likely to die in childbirth than those in poor, but stable, countries.

“In these settings, health facilities are often destroyed or abandoned, supply routes are cut and violence impedes access to clinics,” it said in a press release.

Perera said, while it is true that many women in conflict areas may be more concerned with daily survival, it is also true that agreeing on the number of children to have may help avert hunger and poverty.

“If women and men could decide on the number of children they need, or the number of children they can support, that, in the long term, would lead to the aversion of situations where there is hunger, where there is poverty,” said Perera.

He said, if women could space their pregnancies by two years, evidence shows that it could reduce child deaths under five by 10 to 15 percent.

“So, that’s why we try to give couples the knowledge and the access to the contraceptive method that they can choose for themselves and control the family size, according to what they know is sustainable, and that, in the long term, prevent these issues of having to worry about food, worry about livelihood, and child education, and providing health care for children,” he said.

Butty interview with Perera
Butty interview with Pererai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Perera said there is a range of modern contraceptive methods available for women in challenging environments where they are most at risk of complications and death from unintended pregnancies. These, he said, include pills, injections, implants and IUDs.

He said the IRC is always considerate of the cultural sensitivities in the regions in which the group works.

“We make it a point to work not just on providing women access or focusing only on women, we work with community leaders, we work with religious leaders and we engage men in a big way.  Almost always, we work with the ministries of health and, through collaboration with the government, we get information about what is accepted and what is not, and then we adapt our program accordingly,” Perera said.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid