They face complications during pregnancy and childbirth and are more prone to risks while preventing unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, reproductive tract infections and in using contraception.Even with the recognition that RH is important, reproductive health problems remain the leading cause of sickness and death for women of childbearing age worldwide, and even for infant mortality.RH also become significant in the light of the AIDS crisis.
Women, in particular those who cannot afford the services of the private sector, are directly affected as they are not given much options on the RH services available in government health units.
Tomas Osias, head of the Commission on Population (Popcom), the state agency tasked to implement the government’s family planning programs, attributed the high maternal mortality rate to women being "too young (less than 18 years old), too old (over 34 years old), or having babies too close or unspaced (less than two years)." Suneeta Mukherjee of the UNFPA also said that 99% of maternal deaths are preventable, and that by promoting family planning in places with high birth rates maternal mortality rate can be reduced by as much as 35%.
While NGOs doubt the data on maternal health, they are one in saying that the government’s decision to provide family planning materials and supplies to women who want to plan how many children they will have and when, but who are unable to afford these materials on a regular basis play a vital role in women’s RH.
Hence, an effective and more efficient intervention programs are need to reach those who are in the rural areas and those who lack access to family planning information and materials.
« Back to top « The right to enjoy reproductive health is related to having healthy children and grown-ups, and happy relationships and families.
RH encompasses key areas of the UNFPA vision – that every child is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.Reproductive health for women is important because women face health problems in relation to their reproductive system that could cause maternal mortality.The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994 in Cairo and attended by representatives from 165 nations came up with the following definition of reproductive health (RH): "Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes.Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.Implicit in this last condition is the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant".The ICPD also issued the following statement on the scope of such care: "Reproductive health care is defined as the constellation of methods, techniques and services that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health problems. Thus, by definition, all women and men have the human right to reproductive health care.