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vufo July 12th, 2009 04:13 PM

Responding to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Women is a Smart Choice
 
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On the occasion of the 2009 World Population Day with a theme of “Responding to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Women is a Smart Choice”, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations in Viet Nam have made a call to keep on investing in women’s health and ensuring continued progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, despite the recent global economic crisis.

The economic crisis has already affected progress towards improving women’s health and reducing poverty. Women and girls suffer disproportionately during times of economic crisis. To protect their rights to health, there is an urgent need for increasing social investments, especially in reproductive health, according to the Government and United Nations officials.

The global financial crisis is forcing all of us to save and cut costs where we can. But our work for the women of the world must continue undiminished. When you empower a woman, you empower a family. When you empower a woman, you change the world,” said the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on the occasion of the World Population Day 2009.

In the Government’s socio-economic development plan (2006-2010), Viet Nam plans to reduce the maternal mortality ratio to 60 per 100,000 live births by 2010. In order to achieve this, and thereby reach the Millennium Development Goal of reducing maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015, Viet Nam needs to make concerted efforts. However, the economic crisis represents a challenge for Viet Nam in terms of maintaining this steady progress. Recently, there has been an increase in the maternal mortality rate, especially in remote and disadvantaged areas.

Our collective efforts to achieve the MDGs must remain a priority. We must join forces to advance women’s empowerment and ensure universal access to reproductive health by 2015. Reproductive health services are key to protecting the health of women, mothers and their babies,” said Mr. Nguyen Ba Thuy, Vice Minister of Health and General Director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning.

Over the past years, progress has been made in expanding access to reproductive health and integrating family planning in pre- and post-natal care and HIV prevention. In addition, use of modern contraception has increased and stronger programmes, policies and laws for reproductive health and rights have been established.

In this time of global economic crisis, we must protect the gains achieved by increasing resources for reproductive health, including family planning, so we can make greater progress for women and families,” said Mr. Bruce Campbell, Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on behalf of the United Nations Country Team in Viet Nam.

Investments in education and health for women and girls have been linked to increases in productivity, agricultural yields, and national income. There is no smarter investment, with such high economic and social returns, than investing in the health and education rights of adolescent girls and women,” added Mr Campbell.

To keep up the momentum in achieving MDG5 on maternal health, efforts should be devoted to enhancing the quality of safe motherhood services for ethnic minority people in remote and mountainous areas. It is also essential to strengthen the knowledge, skills and attitudes among service providers of maternal health and newborn care. Above all, priority should be on skilled attendance at delivery with a strengthened referral system to a centre which can respond to pregnancy complications that might otherwise lead to a tragic and unnecessary maternal death.

On World Population Day 2009, the Ministry of Health and the United Nations in Viet Nam pledge their commitment to support health and equal opportunity for all people. It is time to make health and reproductive rights a priority for all, especially for women.

-o0o-

Notes to editors:

This year witnesses the 20th annual World Population Day. The day’s inception in 1989 by UNFPA’s Governing Council prompted its acknowledgment by the United Nations General Assembly as an avenue for building better awareness of population issues and their relation to development.

For further information, please contact:

Ms Dang Thi Bich Thuan
Vice Director
Communication & Education Department - GOPFP
Tel: (84-4) 3823 5806
Mob: 0913508947
Email: vuTTGD@gmail.com

Ms Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh
One UN Communications
Web: www.un.org.vn
Tel: (84-4) 3822 4383 – Ext: 117
Mob: 091 309 3363
Email: tnguyen@unfpa.org

Ms Maria Larrinaga
UNFPA Advocacy and Communications Officer
Web: http://vietnam.unfpa.org
Tel: (84-4) 3823 6632 – Ext: 857
Mob: 0123 6029797
Email: Larrinaga@unfpa.org


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