World Population Day: Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls, to be on track for the SDGs

The collective efforts of the Government, civil society and development partners have resulted in healthier lives for millions of women and girls.

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 10 July 2020- The collective efforts of the Government, civil society and development partners to the reproductive health and rights movements have put deliberate attempt on sexual and reproductive health rights to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths, and resulted in healthier, more productive lives for millions of women and adolescent girls.

The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the progress achieved and is affecting particularly women and girls by exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and challenges. The situation is worse for women in lower educational and income quintiles, amongst minorities, migrants, the disabled and those living in rural areas.

UNFPA research shows that interruption in services due to COVID-19 could increase unintended pregnancies. The consequent impact on maternal deaths could be as high as 684 maternal deaths in 2020, significantly higher than the current annual average maternal deaths of 284 per year.

On the occasion of the World Population Day 11th July, Lao government would like to commemorate the success of the Nairobi Summit ICPD@25 as well as commitments made by Governments which can accelerate the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved in 2030. Implementing ICPD, governments have made many successes as well as outstanding achievements especially for maternal health and protecting women’s rights.

A journalist asking questions at World Population Day 2020 event.

In the recent years, the National ICPD implementations have met some difficulties to carry out the duties and there are many limitations such as financial issue, natural disaster, war, economic crisis, viruses and many more which are the challenges that we have to overcome together successfully, in order to achieve the given commitments to the ICPD and SDG 2030. The 3 important goals included : i) Ending Maternal Mortality, ii) Ending unmet need for family planning among adolescent ; iii) Ending Gender Based Violence and other harmful practices,

As the Government works on COVID-19 recovery along with the planning for the 9th NSEDP (National Socio-Economic Development Plan), the Lao 2030 report on population projections shows us that the population growth now to 2030 will mean Laos will have 8.1 million people. Additional investments are required for secondary school retention, for having sufficient, skilled teachers in secondary schools to meet the 1,068,500 secondary school aged youth who will enroll. An annual 87,000 new jobs will need to be created now to 2030. To keep good health, the health system will need to increase by 50% the numbers of nurses and midwives.  

World Population Day 2020 Photo 3
Participants of World Population Day 2020 event in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Written by
Author
Mr. Phonexay Sithirajvongsa
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
UNFPA
UN entities involved in this initiative
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund