The international community has renewed its commitment to family planning through a new campaign, the Golden Moment on Family Planning (GMFP). Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, said the new pledge that will be launched in London just before the Olympics, will focus attention, policy and funding on meeting the global unmet need for family planning.
He said the GMFP seeks to close the gap in unmet need by 2020. Currently, some 215 million women worldwide want to use modern forms of contraception but do not have access to them. In Uganda alone, the unmet need for family planning stands at 24 percent of women who want to stop, delay or space their children.
“First ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and meet the unmet need for family planning so that all women can freely decide the number and the timing of their children,” Osotimehin said.
Ensuring that women get access to family planning methods will not only control the population and allow families to have children they can take care of, but will also reduce maternal mortality rates by almost a half. Some 1,000 women die daily from pregnancy related complications worldwide. If women were able to space their pregnancies, the risk of dying while giving birth would be reduced. Osotimehin asked legislators participating in the Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly to hold governments accountable and ensure adequate budget lines for health.
“The point I want to make is that women’s and children’s health — and especially girl’s education, health and empowerment — are not only important ends in their own right; they are also essential interventions for addressing population dynamics and paving the way for sustainable development,” he said.
Osotimehin held a meeting with President Museveni in which they discussed, among other issues, sex education for the youth. Osotimehin said sex education should not be misunderstood to mean teaching children about how to or not to have sex, but should be seen as helping young people understand their sexuality and act responsibly.