Chapter

Reproductive health

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
June 2000
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Goal: Provide access for ail who need reproductive health services by 2015

120 million couples who want to space the births of their children or stop having children are not using contraception

Reproductive health services provide men and women with the knowledge they need to protect their health and the health of their families. This includes methods for planning their families, preventing and treating sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and discouraging harmful practices against women.

The use of contraception is influenced by many factors, especially access to and knowledge of affordable and quality reproductive health services. And because gender relations affect reproductive health, men need to take greater responsibility for their own sexual behaviour as well as respect and support their partners’ rights and health.

Contraceptive prevalence rising in all regions

Married women using contraception (%)

During the 1990s the use of contraception increased in all regions, but Africa lagged far behind. With rising numbers of people in poor countries in their reproductive age, the challenge is to sustain the gains in the decade ahead. Doing so would reduce poverty faster.

Improving reproductive health services in the Islamic Republic of Iran

In the late 1980s, the Iranian government became more concerned with meeting the social and welfare needs of its rapidly growing population. In 1989 a national family planning programme was Integrated Into the country’s extensive primary health care system. The programme has increased access and promoted choice of contraceptive use. And in response to the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the programme widened its scope to Include other components of reproductive health. Between 1989 and 1997 the contraceptive prevalence rate rose from 49% to 73%.

More than 14 million adolescent girls give birth each year. A large proportion of those pregnancies are unwanted, and an estimated 4.4 million abortions are sought by adolescent girls each year. Many adolescents also face serious risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Adolescents need reproductive health information and youth-friendly services

Births per 1,000 women aged 15–19, 1998

At the end of 1999,33.6 million men, women and children were living with HIV/AIDS, 95 percent of them in developing countries. More than 16 million have died in the pandemic—more than 13 million in Africa—leaving behind shattered families and crippling the prospects for development. Without effective national programmes and massive international support, the pandemic will continue to spread throughout developing countries, widening the gaps between rich and poor nations.

“I do not want to make this world more crowded, and I do not want my life to get poorer.

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