Dr. Laura Laski, Chief of Sexual and Reproductive Health at UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) noted that family planning is one of the most cost effective interventions to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and it contributes to improving the family poverty situation and to empowering women, if they are able to decide.
Laski argued that although the region shows progress in family planning, this is being measured primarily among women who are married or in union. She stressed that the teen birth rate is very high in the region. She also referred to existing inequalities in access to family planning and said that people with lower income or who live in rural areas have less access to family planning.
The UNFPA expert said that education “is a protective factor,” but that the region still has high teen pregnancy rates. She also emphasized the role of family planning in preventing unsafe pregnancies.
Laski said that addressing these inequalities and gaps requires promoting the use of contraceptives among specifically chosen groups. Providing services is not enough, their is also a need to ensure access to sex education, said Laski.