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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs            9  July 2011

UN promotes reproductive health in Philippines

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With the Philippines now the 12th most populous country in the world, a United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) official said that there is a need for the Aquino administration to promote reproductive health and rights, adding that the world's population will hit 7 billion before the end of 2011.

"Together we can meet the needs of Filipino women who want to plan and space their births but do not have access to modern contraception . . . And prevent the deaths of 11 mothers every day from complications of pregnancy and childbirth," said Ungochi Daniels, UNFP country representative, during the Forum for Family Planning and Development (FFPD) held recently in Quezon City.

Representatives from various sectors of society, including members of the Cabinet and the United Nations, expressed belief during the forum that the world should focus on solving the population problem to reduce inequities and improve the living standards of people around the globe.

Daniels said that the world's population by the end of October 2011 will be seven billion and this milestone represents a challenge, an opportunity and a call to action for the governments of the world, especially the Philippines.

The Philippines, for one, needs to focus its attention on population issues, particularly in the context of overall development plans and programs, and the need to find solutions.

Daniels said that protecting reproductive health and rights is fundamental to the world's collective future and sustainable development.

Benjamin de Leon, the president of FFPD, challenged the government to step up programs to address problems brought about by a rapidly growing population in the country, which is now 94 million, making the Philippines the 12th most populous country in the world.

He said that in order to deal with alarming problems brought by rapid population growth in the country, the government needs to immediately pass the Reproductive Health bill, which, de Leon added, will directly address the country's high infant and maternal deaths, growing HIV/AIDS cases, teen pregnancies and poor access to maternal and child health services, among others.

According to FFPD, rapid population growth would likely hinder development because a huge population would prevent the government from investing more in health, education and infrastructure.

The United Nations Population Fund is planning a seven-day countdown, starting October 24, and leading up to the birth of the 7 billionth baby a week after.


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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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