Conference Examining Family Planning Integration With National Health Strategies In Asia-Pacific Countries Begins

Representatives from 24 countries in Asia and the Pacific came together in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday for the start of a three-day conference about population and family planning, Deutsche Presse-Agentur/M&C reports (12/8).

“Ministers, senior officials, lawmakers, researchers and civil society groups from across Asia-Pacific” are attending the meeting, which concludes on Friday, a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), press release states. The conference “aims to promote renewed attention to family planning within national health strategies” (12/8).

“With the global population rapidly approaching 7 billion, family planning is much more needed than ever for sustainable development and improvement of reproductive health,” said Nobuko Horibe, regional director of the UNFPA, which organized the conference along with the International Council for the Management of Population Programmes (ICOMP), DPA/M&C writes.

“For every dollar spent on [family planning], governments save at least 31 dollars in water, education, housing and health care,” Horibe said. “And for every dollar spent to provide contraceptive services, about 3 dollars is saved in medical costs for pregnancy-related health care and medical care for newborns,” she added (12/8).  

“Recent analysis of countries in Asia offers strong evidence that meeting needs for family planning can reduce population growth and make achieving the [Millennium Development Goals or MDGs] more affordable,” according to the UNFPA press release. “Investing in family planning alone can contribute to reducing the cost of achieving MDG targets for education, child mortality, maternal mortality and environmental sustainability. In addition, providing family planning methods to women who are HIV positive will reduce costs related to preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV,” the release states (12/8).