The Jakarta Post
The United Nations Population Fund ( UNFPA ), together with the Angsa Merah Foundation launched on Tuesday the country's first reproductive health clinics for young people in Bantul and Yogyakarta, under its Unala program.
The clinics, whose staff will include a number of private physicians from Yogyakarta, are part of a pilot project to guarantee the rights of young people to education, job opportunities and health care, including reproductive health.
'These first healthcare clinic are in Yogyakarta, but we plan to build similar clinics nationwide,' Margaretha Sitanggang, the UNFPA Indonesia's national programme officer for youth and adolescent sexual and reproductive health, told The Jakarta Post during the launch of the clinic in Kweden, Trirenggo, Bantul, on Tuesday.
Gusti Pembayun, the eldest daughter of Yogyakarta Governor Hamengku Buwono X, accompanied by UNFPA Indonesia representative Jose Ferraris and Nurlan Silitonga from the Angsa Merah Foundation, inaugurated the clinics in Trirenggo, Bantul regency and Umbulharjo, Yogyakarta, which are respectively run by physicians Anastasia Endar Widyaningsih and Suharno.
The launch was also held to celebrate World Population Day, themed 'Investing in Young People', which fell on July 11.
UNFPA data shows that each year, around 1.7 million women in Indonesia who give birth are aged below 24, and almost half of them are teenagers. Some are unwanted pregnancies, and many teenage girls who fall pregnant are forced to drop out of school, putting their health and that of their babies at risk.
'The UNFPA will subsidize teenagers who want to obtain reproductive health counseling in the next two years,' Margaretha said.
The UNFPA has trained 10 physicians from several areas across Yogyakarta who can provide reproductive health counseling to teenagers in the Unala program. Unala literarily means 'able to make a decision'. Yogyakarta has been chosen to pilot the project due to the high number of teenagers in the province.
Indonesia has around 65 million teenagers, while in Yogyakarta, the number totals around 835,000 or 24 percent of the overall provincial population.
Ferraris said that within 15 years, these teenagers would become economic players and agents of social change.
'It is the UNFPA's mandate to promote the empowerment and well-being of young people and to ensure their safe transition to adulthood. To do so, we need to enhance young people's participation and secure their rights to education, work opportunities and health,' he said. ( ebf )