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

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid