(KPL) The use of modern family planning (FP) methods is the best way to reduce unintended pregnancies and the risks associated with pregnancies and childbirth.
In the Lao PDR, the use of modern family planning methods continues to increase slowly at the rate of 1% per year which means that the country is unlikely to achieve its goal of 65% CPR (Contraceptive Prevalence Rate) by 2025.
The slow increase is due to several issues, among them is the reliance on the use of short-acting methods such as pills and injectables rather than long-acting such as implants and Intra-Uterine Device (IUD); quality of FP services such as poor counselling skills of staff also reflects the slow increase of contraceptive use; and frequent stock out of family planning products at facility level means that women cannot get products when they come to health facilities.
Family Planning is one of the key pillars that reduces maternal and newborn mortality rates and improves the health and wellbeing of women and their existing children. It allows women and men to decide whether to have children or not, when to have them, how many to have and how often to have them.
In 2019, by up taking FP services, 257,000 unintended pregnancies were averted, 61,000 unsafe abortion averted and 230 maternal deaths averted.
The Lao government has made a commitment to global Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) movement to improve voluntary access to Family Planning information, services and supplies for men, women and young people.
Through the revised Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Policy (2019-2030), it has refocused Family Planning as essential health service. It commits to scale up family planning services to health center and village levels to increase the access to reproductive health and information for adolescents, aiming to boost the number of women using family planning services.
In this regard, MoH through Department of Hygiene and Health Promotion, with supports from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) conducted a one-day workshop on Oct 3 with the aim to review progress and achievements of the FP programme since last year, agree on mCPR estimate for 2019 for the FP2020 progress report and make recommendations for FP programme in the next Health Sector five-year planning.
The workshop was chaired by Deputy Minister of Health Phouthone Muangpark, and Representative of UNFPA Mariam A. Khan. It was well attended by Directors/Deputy Directors of Provincial Health Departments and key Mother and Child Health staff from all 17 provinces, as well as key staff from Ministry of Health relevant departments, and development partners who support Family Planning programme.
Source: Lao News Agency