Providing the poor and traditionally under-served groups, such as young people, adequate access to sexual and reproductive health services will be critical to protect them against health-related illness and death, a senior United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) senior official said.
The UNFPA Indonesia Representative Jose Ferraris said Monday that it was the right of every person, whether they lived in rural or urban areas, and in whatever socio economic status, to attain universal access to sexual and reproductive health services.
“This is very important for us to address the issue of equity and equality in providing people, in particular the poor and traditionally under-served groups such as people living with disabilities, sexual minorities including sex workers, and other socially marginalized people, including young people, adequate access to the highest standards of reproductive health,” he told a media workshop themed “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services” ahead the forthcoming of 2012 World Population Day, which will fall on July 11.
According to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of young women aged between 15-19 years in Indonesia reached more than 10 million people by 2010. The adolescent birth rate has reached 35 per 1,000 adolescent aged 15-19 years, which is quite high.
The Indonesian government aims to reduce the adolescent birth rate to 30 per 1,000 adolescents aged 15-19 years by 2014.
Ferraris said that sexual and reproductive health was the central component of general health and a pre-requisite for social, economic and human development.
“It is shown by fact that the leading cause of ill-health and deaths among women in their reproductive ages, for example, women aged in between 15 to 49 years, is related to reproductive health problems,” he said, adding that reproductive morbidity and mortality were very critical problems for women’s life, not just in Indonesia, but also all over the world.
Despite ongoing campaigns, few people totally understand that reproductive health covers a wide range of issues, including family planning, maternal health, adolescent reproductive health and sexually-transmitted infections, including the HIV/AIDS.
Citing the 1994 International Conference on Population Development (ICPD)’s Plan of Action, Ferraris said that the reproductive health even included elements of gender equality, such as avoiding gender-based violence and promoting a higher role and responsibilities of men in reproductive health.
“Sexual and reproductive health rights are based on the premise that all individuals have the rights to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health and to make reproductive choices and to live their lives including the practices of sexuality which is free from coercion, violence, and threats of illnesses, diseases and deaths,” he said.
In previous years, the UNFPA worked with the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) in preparing the commemoration of the World Population Day.
This year, the theme of World Population Day is “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services”.
“This year’s topic is no less important than previous years. However, because it tends to be more on the health-related side, for this reason, the celebration is going to be led by the Health Ministry,” said Ferraris.