Contraception prevalence rates in the Maldives are still “too low”, United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Representative Andrew Cox has claimed.
Speaking at the launch of UNFPA’s State of World Population 2012 (SWOP) report, Cox said that while many aspects of family planning have greatly improved in the Maldives, contraceptive prevalence rates are lower in comparison to other countries of similar development rate and culture.
Figures revealed by Cox show that infant mortality in the Maldives has dropped from 63 deaths per 1000 births in 1986 to 11 per 1000 in 2009, and that a baby born in the Maldives today can expect to live for 74 years – more than 20 years older than a child born in 1980.
However, according to Cox contraceptive prevalence in the Maldives is considerably low in comparison to other comparable countries.
“The prevalence rate of contraception is too low, especially for a country like the Maldives. It is definitely something we need to work with the government on,” Cox told Minivan News.
Further figures revealed by Vice President Mohamed Waheed Deen – who attended the launch to release the SWOP report – show that one in every four pregnancies in the Maldives were unplanned, while 16 percent were unwanted and a further ten percent mistimed.
Deen further stated that the family production unit at Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital’s (IGMH) records show 33 percent of women aged 23 had ‘out of wedlock’ pregnancies.
Deen gave his assurance that the government will be part of the development of family planning, adding that “[family planning] is a must”.
“Very often this type of information is easier for non-government organisations (NGOs) to pass on. We support the gender ministry and the health ministry, and if it comes to financial support we would help them.
“Family planning affects the whole economy in a positive way, so we would definitely be willing to help out,” Deen said.
The SWOP report, entitled ‘By Choice, Not by Chance: Family Planning, Human Rights and Development’, focuses on the need for family planning both globally and in the Maldives.
UNFPA’s role in Maldives began in the early 1980s with the launch of national programmes on family planning and population. Since then, four country programmes have been launched addressing issues around family planning.