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Health News of Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Source: R.HARRY REYNOLDS, GHANA MISSION, NEW YORK

Abortion should not be promoted as family planning method

The 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development at the United Nations Headquarters, New York has ended with the adoption of a consensus resolution that abortion should not be promoted as a method of family planning or in the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
The Commission reiterated the need to intensify efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, as well as harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. It was essential to increase investment in women and youth as it would yield a high return on investment for the growing working-age population.
It agreed that countries must ensure that health-care providers do not restrict access to such services and information. Where appropriate, they should remove legal, regulatory and social barriers to reproductive health care for adolescents.
The Commission in a seven-page text after its deliberations further urged Governments to address gaps in implementing the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, notably in the areas of human rights, gender equality and equitable access to health care, including for sexual and reproductive health.
“Increased political will from all Governments is urgently needed to address existing gaps in the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action and to respond to new challenges,” it said and called for the recognition of parental duties to provide guidance on sexual and reproductive matters to adolescents.
The Commission further called on Governments to recognize the links between ICPD priorities and sustainable development, and encourage them to build on progress made over the last 20 years in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.
To this end, it asked, Governments to carry out strategies to eradicate poverty, promote inclusive growth and address the needs of children, older persons and other marginalized groups.
It urged all stakeholders to pay attention to “areas of shortfall” in the implementation of the Programme of Action, including the elimination of preventable maternal morbidity through strengthening health systems and universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, stressing that Governments and their partners must prioritize such access.
Governments were also encouraged to ensure that the social integration of older persons was an integral part of development policies at all levels.
Ghana’s 14-member delegation to the five days session was headed by Professor Stephen Kwankye, Executive Director of the National Population Council and included representatives of the Ghana Health Service, civil society, media, Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana and Prof. F.T.Sai, an expert on Population matters.
The 47th session, under the theme "Assessment of the status of implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development", was attended by member states, representatives of United Nations agencies and civil society joined by senior Government officials in outlining progress made and areas requiring more attention. There was a general debate on national experiences, discussion on the annual ministerial reviews of progress made and the future programme of work.

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