WINDHOEK – With greater contraceptive options, more than 200 million women and girls worldwide could delay or prevent pregnancies and this would allow them to prosper as “equal partners” in sustainable development, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem.
In her speech delivered on World Population Day which was observed last Thursday, Kanem said women have the right to make their own decisions about whether, when and how often to become pregnant.
“That right was reaffirmed in 1994 in Cairo at the landmark international conference on population and development where 179 governments agreed that sexual and reproductive health is the foundation for sustainable development,” she said.
Since 1994, governments, activists, civil society organisations and institutions such as UNFPA have rallied behind the programme of action and pledged to tear down barriers that have stood between women and girls and their health, rights, and power to chart their own futures, said Kanem.
“In Cairo, we imagined a future in which every pregnancy is intended because every woman and girl would have autonomy over her own body and be able to choose whether, when and with whom to have children. We imagined a time where everyone would live in safety, free from violence and with respect and dignity and where no girl would be forced to marry or have her genitals mutilated,” she said.
She further noted that more than 200 million women and girls want to delay or prevent pregnancy, however, they do not have the means. “And it is the poorest women and girls, members of indigenous, rural and marginalised communities and those living with disabilities, who face the greatest gaps in services,” said Kanem.
She said the time to act is now to “ensure that every woman and girl is able to exercise her rights. With greater contraceptive options, they can prosper as equal partners in sustainable development”.
2019-07-15 09:54:28 3 months ago