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Family planning is a human right

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UNFPA and the Government of Viet Nam will jointly host a panel discussion to mark World Population Day on 11th of July 2018 at the Viet Nam Youth Academy in Ha Noi.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was, for the first time, globally affirmed as a human right. The Tehran Proclamation states that, "Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children."

Madame Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Vice-President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, will open the event, which brings a range of international experts together to discuss progress and challenges related to family planning and sustainable development in Viet Nam and across Asia and the Pacific.

Panellists include:

  • Mr. Le Canh Nhac, Deputy Director of General Office for Population and Planning, Ministry of Health
  • Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam.
  • Ms. Ingrid Fitzgerald, Technical Advisor, Gender and Human Rights. UNFPA Asia-Pacific.
  • Ms. Neha Chauhan, Senior Technical Advisor, Advocacy and Accountability. IPPF Asia-Pacific.
  • Mr. Le Hoang Minh Son, Viet Nam youth representative.

Family planning: key to sustainable development

Providing family planning services, including counselling and contraceptives, is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions that money can buy, contributing directly to dramatic reductions in maternal mortality and morbidity and ensuring individuals, communities and nations can make the best of themselves.

When a woman can plan her family, she can plan her life. She can pursue more education, seek and keep better jobs, and contribute more to her family, her nation and to global prosperity. As she becomes better-off financially, her children receive better education, and the benefits carry over well into future generations.

Over the last 20 years, Asia and the Pacific has seen impressive improvements in sexual and reproductive health. This is due in part to the increased use of modern contraceptives and improvements in the provision of reproductive and sexual health care. Yet despite improvements, there are still 140 million women across the region with an unmet need for family planning, with over 70 million women living in South Asia alone.

Achieving the world's Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 will depend significantly on how well the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people are fulfilled, meeting their unmet need for family planning is among the most cost-effective investments countries can make.

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Family planning in Viet Nam

In recent decades, Viet Nam has made considerable improvements in its family planning service delivery system. The total fertility rate has fallen from an average of 5 children per couple in the 1970s to the replacement rate of 2.09 in 2016 and the rate of modern contraceptive prevalence has risen from 37% in 1988 to 67% in 2016, and related to this, the country's maternal mortality rate has dramatically reduced from 233 deaths per 100,000 live births in the 1990s to 58 per 100,000 live births in 2016.

However, the unmet need for modern contraceptives remains as high as 30% amongst unmarried young people. It is clear that gaps have existed in the provision of adolescent sexual and reproductive health information and services, including sexuality education in policies and programmes for some time.

Bridging these gaps for the benefit of the entire population, including ethnic minorities and people living in remote areas, will help everyone fulfill their potential. Investing in young people's health and development will also help the country to reap significant long term socio-economic gains.

UNFPA is fully committed to support the governments and people ofAsia and the Pacific, including Viet Nam, to ensure that universal access to healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health, will become a reality for all.

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1 December 2017

Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of UNAIDS
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations

This World AIDS Day, we are highlighting the importance of the right to health and the challenges that people living with and affected by HIV face in fulfilling that right.


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As we enter the second year of the Sustainable Development Goals era, we look forward to continuing our close cooperation for the sake of Viet Nam’s future development; one which is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, with no one left behind.

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United Nations Resident Coordinator a.i. in Viet Nam


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for World AIDS Day, observed on 1 December


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There has been real progress in tackling the disease. More people than ever are on treatment.  Since 2010, the number of children infected through mother to child transmission has dropped by half. Fewer people die of AIDS related causes each year.  And people living with HIV are living longer lives.

The number of people with access to life-saving medicines has doubled over the past five years, now topping 18 million. With the right investments, the world can get on the fast-track to achieve our target of 30 million people on treatment by 2030.  Access to HIV medicines to prevent mother to child transmission is now available to more than 75 per cent of those in need.