Reproductive health vital for reducing poverty, UN population agency says

29 June 2005

Universal availability of modern contraceptive services would allow more women and children to live healthier lives, while unplanned births would be reduced by 72 per cent per year, according to a new publication by the United Nations population agency.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) says that its publication, Reducing Poverty and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: Arguments for Investing in Reproductive Health & Rights, demonstrates the future dividends of investing in reproductive health.

These dividends would be reflected in healthier, more productive individuals and families, which would contribute to stronger, wealthier nations, it says.

Among the many benefits of reproductive health, the report says, are improving family and community well being, boosting economic gains, saving women's and children's lives, and greatly curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Poor reproductive health, says the report, accounts for a sizeable proportion of the world's total burden of disease and disability – as high as one third among all women, and one fifth of the total global burden, including men and women.

The report also presents a list of ways reproductive health can be improved. The list was included in the "Stockholm Call to Action," which was endorsed by a number of ministers, parliamentarians and leaders of multilateral agencies, civil society and youth organizations earlier this year.

The list includes the empowerment of women to participate fully in development, the building of more equitable health systems, the linking of the HIV/AIDS efforts with reproductive health, and support for young people's health and development.


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