Marking World Population Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for more to be done to help those who most need access to reproductive health care.
“I call for urgent concerted action by member states to bridge the gap between demand and supply for reproductive health care,” the secretary-general said in a message to mark the Day, which falls on July 11.
“Reproductive health and rights are integral to sustainable development and poverty reduction,” Ban said. “Investing in universal access to reproductive health is a crucial investment in healthy societies and a more sustainable future.”
Observed annually on July 11 since 1989, World Population Day focuses attention on the importance of population issues in the context of development plans and programs, and the need to find solutions for these issues.
“The world’s population has more than tripled since the United Nations was created in 1945, and keeps growing,” he said. “With more than seven billion people now inhabiting the planet, we face ever greater demands on shared resources and significant challenges to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.”
The theme for this year’s Day is “Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services,” which is aimed at highlighting the essential part that reproductive health plays in creating a just and equitable world.
For his part, the executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), Babatunde Osotimehin, also issued a message for the Day.
“Working for the survival and the well-being of women and girls is a human right imperative. And in order to take advantage of women’s full potential in the development of their nations, they must be able to plan their lives and families,” Osotimehin said. ” This is why the international community is determined to making universal access to reproductive health a priority.”
According to UNFPA, reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of ill health and death for women of childbearing age worldwide. Some 222 million women who would like to avoid or delay pregnancy lack access to effective family planning, while nearly 800 women die every day in the process of giving life.