G uinobatan- Albay, July 10, 2012 – World Population Day is being celebrated today to raise awareness on the importance of addressing population issues and their relationship to health and development. This year’s theme is “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services”.
Dr. Eden Divinagracia, Executive Director of the Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare Inc. (PNGOC) joins the celebration together with various stakeholders to showcase the need for universal access to reproductive health information and services.
Based on recent statistics, unmet need for Family Planning also increased from 15.7% in 2006 to 19.3% in 2011. The unmet need is highest among poor women (25.8%), adolescent girls (37%), women with no education (29.2%) and women in ARMM (35.8%). Needless to say, such unmet need is a contributing factor in the increased Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) as shown in the latest Family Health Survey — from 162 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to 221 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011. Such reality takes us farther away from achieving the Millennium Development Goal-5 target of MMR reduction to 52 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015.
To highlight the need for universal access, PNGOC together with Marcial O Ranola Memorial School (MORMS), Mayon Integrated Development Alternatives and Services (MIDAS), Commission on Population (POPCOM), Kapisanan ng Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized an educational forum to highlight the need for reproductive health information and services.
The forum is an opportunity to impart knowledge about reproductive health including family planning, maternal health, adolescent reproductive health and sexually-transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Divinagracia said “Adolescents should be provided with adequate access to sexual and reproductive health information and services so that they can manage their own sexual and reproductive health and to make reproductive choices, including the practice of sexuality free from coercion, violence, and threats.”