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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid