Investing in adolescent girls facilitates national development: health minister

Saturday, 2016-07-09 18:02:45
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Youngsters being offered reproductive health counseling at the meeting in celebration of the 2016 World Population Day in Hanoi on July 9. (Credit: NDO)
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NDO – It is necessary to increase investment in adolescent girls to help them fulfil their potential, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien has said.

>>> Various activities held to observe World Population Day

Minister Tien made the remark during a meeting in Hanoi on July 9 by the Ministry of Health and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam to the mark the 2016 World Population Day (July 11) under the theme "Investing in Teenage Girls".

Speaking at the event, Tien said that Vietnam is experiencing a "golden population" period with the highest proportion of young people ever recorded in the history. This is an opportunity for Vietnam to develop a plan for the demographic transition period, leveraging the “golden population structure” for socio-economic development. Several other Asian countries have had success by ensuring that every youth is provided with education and support to reach their full potential.

Referring to the theme of this year’s World Population Day, Minister Tien said that Vietnam has recognised the rights of women and has invested in education and health care for all, resulting in significant development indicators under the Millennium Development Goals.

She also stressed the need for further comprehensive investment and priorities for adolescent girls, including education and reproductive health to help them reach their full potential.

At the international perspective, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Astrid Bant said the world currently has the largest generation of young people ever with 1.8 billion out of 7.3 billion people between 10 and 24 years old. It also means 1.8 billion times unlimited potential to create solutions to the world’s burning issues.

Ensuring that girls are able to exercise their right to make their ideas and needs heard and acted on, pursue education, do a fair share of work in the household, and have the skills and opportunity to join public service and the workforce is not only essential for their own well-being, but lays a critical foundation for the health and prosperity of families, communities and nations.

The UN official affirmed the organisation’s commitments and investment for girls to have adequate access to comprehensive sexual education and comprehensive health services, including contraceptive services and the protective cervical cancer vaccination for teenage girls.

Under the framework of the celebration, the organisers showcased products and communication advice on reproductive health for adolescents, as well as offering premarital counseling.

Also at the event, the General Office for Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health signed a co-operation agreement with relevant ministries and central agencies on strengthening collaboration in the work in the near future.

During the 2016-2020 period, population and family planning work targets a population of no more than 98 million people, a population growth rate of 1% a year, reducing abortions by 30% among youth, having 50% of mothers receive antenatal screening and 80% of newborns screened, in addition to synchronously implementing solutions focused on improving population quality, firmly maintaining the replacement rate, and furthering investment in healthcare for the elderly.