UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Government of Australia are partnering with six Pacific governments to improve the lives of women and youth in the Pacific by ensuring they have access to sexual and reproductive health services.
A new programme, titled ‘Transformative Agenda for Women, Youth and Adolescents’ will focus on improving access to quality family planning information and services. UNFPA has highlighted how these services are crucial to improving health and wellbeing, particularly for women and youth.
The Australian government has contributed $30 million (AUD) to the programme which will be launched in partnership with the governments of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Dr Sharman Stone, Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, commented:
“The Transformative Agenda represents a major new investment by the Australian Government to expand access to vital sexual and reproductive health services in the Pacific. These services save lives, improve national health outcomes and promote economic growth. For women and girls, access to family planning in particular can have a profound impact, enabling them to stay in education for longer, and participate equally in society and the economy”
The programme will help the Pacific governments address unmet needs for family planning, that are among the highest in the world, and tackle increasing numbers of adolescent pregnancies in 10 countries in the region.
National governments throughout the Pacific will be supported by the programme to ensure that reproductive and sexual health services are able to respond appropriately to women, young people and vulnerable groups.
The programme will also work on improving the capacity to maintain these services during natural disasters. The Pacific region is notably vulnerable to natural disasters and the collapse of services during crisis times can worsen the impact of the affected populations.
Of the $10 million provided by the Australian Government, $4.4 million will be used to improve the procurement and distribution of reproductive health products. One of the programme’s key focuses is to ensure modern contraceptives are available in all health services.
Bruce Campbell, UNFPA’s Director in the Pacific, noted:
“All the work that we do, from pregnancy through childhood and adolescence to adulthood, aims to ensure that individuals, families and communities are empowered to make key life choices from a rights-based perspective. The ability of women and girls to make these choices is both essential and truly transformative. Achieving universal access to family planning by 2030 is also a key commitment under the Sustainable Development Goals”
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Image credit: UNFPA Asia & the Pacific