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World Population Day 2012 - Ensuring universal access to reproductive health services is key to protecting the health of young people, women, mothers and their babies

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wpd 2012 01Ensuring universal access to reproductive health services is key to protecting the health of young people, women, mothers and their babies. © UNFPA Việt Nam\Hà Giang 2010\Đoàn Bảo ChâuHA NOI, 10 July 2012 – At a press conference organized today in Ha Noi to commemorate the 2012 World Population Day, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam 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. According to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, some 222 million women who would like to avoid or delay pregnancy, lack access to effective family planning. Nearly 800 women die every day in the process of giving life. About 1.8 billion young people are entering their reproductive years, often without the knowledge, skills and services they need to protect themselves.

 "Meeting the global demand for voluntary family planning will not only save and improve the lives of women and children; it will empower women, reduce poverty and ultimately build stronger nations," noted Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA. "The gap between the demand for family planning and the availability of services must be bridged, starting with the most vulnerable - poor women, rural women and young people, upon whom our future rests".

wpd 2012 02Ministry of Health and the United Nations (UN) in Viet Nam 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"

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

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

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. Recent analysis of data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey undertaken by GSO, suggests more than 10 per cent of young people have "unmet need" for sexual and reproductive health services.

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.

wpd 2012 04Ms. Mandeep K. O'Brien, UNFPA Representative a.i. in Viet Nam speaks at the World Population Day 11/07 Press conference"Investing in adolescents and young people can accelerate the fight against poverty, HIV and AIDS, socio-economic disparities and gender discrimination. Denying adolescents and young people their right to quality education, sexual and reproductive health care, protection, participation and decent jobs perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty and exclusion that deprives them of the chance to fully develop their capacity to be healthy and productive members of society," said Ms. Mandeep K. O'Brien, UNFPA Representative a.i. in Viet Nam.

To sustain the momentum toward achieving MDG5 in every commune in the country, efforts should be devoted to enhancing the quality of sexual and reproductive health services for the most disadvantaged groups. To achieve this will also require strengthening the knowledge, skills and attitudes among all public and private service providers of sexual and reproductive health care.

On World Population Day 2012, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations in Viet Nam 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.

For further information, please contact:

  • Ms Dang Thi Bich Thuan | Vice Director | Communication & Education Department - GOPFP | Tel: (84-4) 3823 5806 | Mob: 0913508947 | Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh | UN Communications | Tel: (84-4) 3822 4383 – Ext: 117 | Mob: 091 309 3363 | Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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