Investing in family planning key to achieving SDGs: report

Tuesday, 2018-05-08 17:26:26
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Prof., Dr. Nguyen Viet Tien, Deputy Minister of Health, speaks at the conference. (Photo courtesy of UNFPA)
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NDO – Access to voluntary family planning (FP) is a basic human right and greater investment in FP is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, according to a new study on FP service quality in Vietnam.

The study, which was launched in Hanoi on Tuesday by the Ministry of Health (MOH), with technical and financial support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), outlined that in Vietnam, the total fertility rate has fallen from an average of five children per couple (recorded in the 1970s) to a replacement level of 2.09 in 2016.

The modern contraceptive prevalence rate has increased from 37% in 1988 to 67% in 2016. The maternal mortality rate has fallen from 233 per 100,000 live births in the 1990s to 69 per 100,000 live births in 2009 and 58.3 per 100,000 live births in 2016 – a dramatic improvement.

The study estimates that 80.5% of currently married women aged 15-49 are using any contraceptive method, while 64.4% are using modern contraceptive methods. The contraceptive prevalence rate is higher in urban areas than rural areas.

According to Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Viet Tien, FP work contributes to stabilising the scale, structure, and quality of the population. The report released today helps to provide further assessments for policymakers, programme managers, health professionals, and researchers in effectively implementing related programmes that promote the use of modern contraceptives among Vietnamese people to serve the achievement of SDGs, Tien said.

He revealed that the method of providing FP services has been fundamentally restructured. Previously, the services were only provided at public health facilities at the district level or higher, but now they are offered at commune health stations and in private health facilities. However, there is still room for improvement in the delivery of FP services, such as enhancing the quality of services, resolving intermittent use of FP services, and tackling the failure rate of contraceptives. The MOH has co-ordinated with relevant agencies to develop a "Project on strengthening and improving the quality of FP services by 2030" to submit to the Prime Minister for approval, Tien added.

Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam, speaks at the conference. (Photo courtesy of UNFPA)

Achieving the world’s SDGs by 2030 would significantly depend on how well the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people are fulfilled, said Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam.

She emphasised the need for a stronger implementation of communication campaigns and behavioural interventions to encourage men to participate in FP to increase the use of contraceptives for men, as well as reducing the use of traditional methods and increasing the use of modern contraceptives.