Provision of reproductive health care services still limited: Vice Minister of Health

This year, together with the international community, Vietnam celebrated the World Population Day in the context of increasing global population, when the provision of reproductive health care services is still limited, Vice Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said at a press conference July 10 organized in Hanoi to commemorate the 2012 World Population Day.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA  (1st, R) and Vice Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien (C) at the meeting

At a press conference to commemorate the 2012 World Population Day, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations (UN) in Vietnam called for increased efforts to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with a specific focus on MDG5 on “Achieving Universal Access to Reproductive Health by 2015”.

Reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of ill-health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide.

Data from the Ministry of Health and other population based surveys indicates that Vietnam has made substantial progress toward increasing coverage of family planning, safe motherhood and newborn health services.

Tien said over the past years, the government has issued many laws and policies to promote the population and reproductive health work and after ten years implementation of the National Strategies on Population and Reproductive Health 2001-2010, Vietnam has gained many important achievements on population and reproductive health, contributing significantly to the country's socio-economic development process.

However, certain population groups, such as adolescents, young and unmarried people, migrants, and ethnic minority people, have limited access to sexual and reproductive health services. As a result, a significant number of pregnancies are unexpected, leading to high abortion rates, especially among the young and unmarried.

Furthermore, many maternal deaths occur in mountainous and hard-to-reach areas, and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), continue to be a challenge, indicating that more prevention efforts are needed.

According to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, nearly 800 women die every day in the process of giving life; 10-15 million women suffering from serious illness or disability due to complications caused during pregnancy and childbirth; and 15 per cent of pregnant women experiencing complications that may cause a risk of death during childbirth each year.

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA , said the World Population Day this year was launched worldwide by the United Nations Populations Fund with the theme: "Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services" to strengthen the commitment of countries in promoting the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

On World Population Day 2012, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations in Vietnam pledge their commitment to advance women’s empowerment and to ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Reproductive health care, including voluntary family planning, protects the health of young people, women and their babies.

By K. Nguyen - Translated by Anh Quan

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