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Laos Tracks Increased Family Planning Services

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Laos is attempting to increase access to family planning information and services, with the goal to reach 80 percent of women by 2025.

The target was made public at a consensus building workshop held in Vientiane yesterday; following this week’s Track20 monitoring and evaluation training; which aimed to improve the progress and monitoring of family planning programs.

During the meeting it was revealed that around 50 percent of women currently use family planning, while 18 percent of them did not have access to such services; which the government hopes to decrease to 8 percent by 2025.

Plans to increase the coverage of family planning services are also in the works, with a focus on long-term pregnancy prevention, including IUDs.

According to a document released at the meeting, 20 percent of women in the country would like to delay or stop childbearing, but are not using any method of contraception. The need for contraception is high throughout Laos; particularly among young women, women with little education and those in poverty. The adolescent birth rate, in women between the ages of 15 and 19, in Laos is among the highest in the region, with 94 in 1,000 girls becoming pregnant.

The Lao government has doubled its efforts to improve women’s livelihoods through family planning programmes, committing to the global Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) movement early this year.

FP2020 is a global partnership dedicated to improve voluntary access to family planning information, services and supplies for women and girls in low income countries. The commitment was led by the Ministry of Health and endorsed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Family planning is important for a woman’s ability to choose if and when she has children, and has a direct impact on her health and well-being.

In his remarks at the workshop, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Phouthone Moungpak mentioned the family planning project as one of the ten strategic objectives in the maternal reproductive and health integrated strategy, with targets to be met from now to 2020 and 2025.

Evidence suggests that women who have more than four children are at an increased risk of maternal mortality. Particularly, young women need access to family planning information and services, since they are at an increased risk of complications and death from early childbearing as well as unplanned pregnancy.

Speaking at the meeting, the United Nations Population Fund Representative, Ma Frederika Meijer noted the importance of capacity building in health services, through the use new tools and understanding family planning data and programme results. As well as tracking the progress of programmes and their effectiveness in order to meet the FP2020 commitment target.

“Understanding and interpreting family planning data is key to design interventions that give access to quality family planning service. And in the end, this is what we want: that every pregnancy is wanted and safe,” she said.

 

Source: Vientiane Times