Family planning bolsters economic, social success: UN

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MANILA (October 18)– Effective family planning is key to a country’s economic and social development, an official of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said Wednesday.

“Economic progress will arise if couples have the power to choose having fewer children,” UNFPA Country Representative Iori Kato said in a press briefing in Pasay City.

Citing the State of World Population 2018 report, Kato said the Philippines is the second largest among the 10 ASEAN member countries with the highest fertility rate.

He added that 49 percent of unmarried and sexually active Filipino women and 17 percent of married Filipino women have an unmet need for family planning.

“When a woman has the power and means to prevent or delay a pregnancy, for example, she has more control over her health and can enter or stay in the paid labor force and realize her full economic potential and contribute to the country’s economic growth,” he said.

Kato suggested that the government invest more on health, education and employability of young people and gender equality.

“The government must have a policy committed to (the) promotion of reproductive rights, meaning all couples have the right to information and means to decide on the number, space and timing of their children, free from discrimination and violence,” he said.

To ensure the realization of such right, he said the government must prioritize reproductive health care in the health care system.

“The government must also provide universal and comprehensive sex education because people need to know how to exercise their right to make choices on their pregnancy, this should be imparted to young people before they get sexually active,” he added.

Kato said age-appropriateness and content of sex education materials must be considered to avoid misconceptions about it.

“Sex education is also about relationship, respect, self-esteem, negotiation and communication. All these should be part of the curriculum, so the young people would understand and respect themselves and plan their future well,” he added. (PNA)

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