News / Health

UN: Family Planning Pays Huge Benefit for Developing Countries

United Nations Population Fund staff gives a cake to the family of newborn baby girl named Danica Camacho, the Philippines' symbolic 'seven billionth baby' who is part of the UN's seven billion global population projection, in Fabella Maternity hospital i
United Nations Population Fund staff gives a cake to the family of newborn baby girl named Danica Camacho, the Philippines' symbolic 'seven billionth baby' who is part of the UN's seven billion global population projection, in Fabella Maternity hospital i
Lisa Schlein
A new report finds greater access to family planning methods would save developing countries more than $11 billion a year in reduced costs for maternal and newborn health care. In this year's State of the World Population report, the United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] also says that family planning and the resulting drop in family size pays additional economic dividends.

The report by the U.N. Population Fund says 222 million women in developing countries currently lack access to contraceptives and other family planning services. It says an investment of $4 billion a year would provide these women with reproductive information that would save lives by preventing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.  

In addition, the report notes increased access to family planning has proven to be a sound economic investment. Wealthy countries in Europe and North America have long reaped a so-called demographic dividend from having fewer children. It says the same logic works in developing countries.

Asia reaps benefits

Diane Stewart, the UNFPA director of information and external relations, said one-third of the growth of Asian "tiger" economies is due to increased access to family planning.

"And to be able to choose the number of children and when you start having children. So, that has dramatically changed the way people live in many countries," said Stewart. "They are able to live longer and healthier lives because of family planning, and it also has a positive multiplier effect on development because of the increased savings that are possible within the family and the investment in economic growth that that brings about."  

The report finds big gaps in family planning services in sub-Saharan Africa, with some of the biggest unmet needs in West Africa. Modern contraceptives are not widely available in countries such as Chad and Niger.  

Planning bolsters bottom line

UNFPA asserts that family planning helps lift nations out of poverty. A recent study predicted that Nigeria's economy would grow by at least $30 billion if the fertility rate in the country fell by just one child per woman in the next 20 years.  

The report shows an investment of about $1.8 billion a year would be needed to provide sufficient contraceptives in developing countries.  While this is important, Stewart said it also is critical to address social, political, and legal barriers that prevent access to these reproductive tools.  

In many cultures, women are encouraged to have large families and to avoid or minimize the use of contraceptives.

Global issue

Stewart said family planning is a global challenge.

"It is not just about developing countries, it is actually something that faces all countries. There are unmet needs for family planning in every country in the world," she said. "A lot of that has to do with poor, disadvantaged, marginalized groups in many countries who do not have access to the kinds of services and products that they need in order to plan their own families, space their children and prevent unattended pregnancies."  

Stewart said family planning includes all voluntary methods of contraception - modern, traditional and natural. She noted UNFPA does not recognize abortion as an option because, she said, it is not good for the health of the mother.

She said studies show that access to modern methods of family planning and contraception radically reduces the rates of abortion in countries, whether legal or illegal.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: pam from: BC
November 14, 2012 12:55 PM
Yep the good ol' UN cares so much about people. Save a whale, terminate a human.

In Response

by: Person from: USA
November 15, 2012 4:28 AM
"She noted UNFPA does not recognize abortion as an option because, she said, it is not good for the health of the mother."

Contraceptive does not mean abortion.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid