Family planning as an integral part of human rights - Sadna Na Bitam

Over the last three decades, the United Nations has celebrated July 11 as World Population Day, always under a particular theme, to alert the world about the urgency and importance of population issues in a world with limited resources.

14 Jul 2017

Family planning as an integral part of human rights - Sadna Na Bitam

This year, the theme "Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations" was chosen to draw attention to the fact that around 225 million women worldwide who wish to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and secure family planning methods. The reasons range from lack of access to information or services, to the lack of support from their partners or communities. Most of the women with limited access to contraceptives live in the 69 poorest countries of the world.

Experts point out that access to safe and voluntary family planning is a human right. It is also central for gender equality and the empowerment of women and a key factor in poverty reduction; furthermore it can drive development.

According to the United Nations, in the last two decades, the percentage of women who use contraceptives in developed and developing countries has increased to more than 63%.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) - the UN agency dealing with population issues - has been doing everything to accelerate universal access to sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning, safe motherhood, and the realization of rights and opportunities for young people.

In Guinea- Bissau, which has circa one million and 500,000 inhabitants, the greatest challenges of the population are poverty, lack of education, access to quality health, infrastructure and the political instability which delays development.

According to the Guinean Association for Family Welfare (AGUIBEF), created in 1987, only 14% of families have access to family planning modern contraceptive methods whilst 16% use traditional methods. About 22% of Guinean women would like to have access to family planning, but they do not due to lack of information, lack of affordable health services, poor quality of health services and lack of adequate materials, equipment and contraceptives.

The director of programs of this institution, Sadna Na Bitan, recalls that "family planning is the central pillar of reproductive sexual health and an integral part of human rights. Family planning helps reduce maternal child mortality, helps to solve the problems of education, nutrition, health and the environment, which means that, with a limited number of children, they can be guaranteed good nutrition, quality education and good health, said Sadna ".

Citizens from different regions of the country were unanimous when they asked the authorities to guarantee "access to quality health services, quality education for all, peace and stability to accelerate the development of the country."

For the musician José Manuel Fortes, commonly known as "Zé Manel", whose work has always been the portrait of the Guinean population over the years, considers that "the population is the basis of a country, but more than 40 years the people have always been martyrized and sacrificed, from generation to generation. Unfortunately, the country is where it is, we have already sang, the press has already spoken, but it seems to me that nobody wants to stop and think about the situation of the country" he said.

UNIOGBIS human rights officer Eunice Queta Esteves recalls that "family planning is a right that every citizen should enjoy and Bissau-Guineans have to be informed and sensitized about this right. The greatest problem that still persists in Bissau-Guinean society is the lack of knowledge of their rights. So the more we work on sensitizing people about their rights and duties, the more chances we have to change their mentalities. "