30 July 2014, Savannakhet - The National Assembly (NA) with support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organized a Family Planning Workshop for Members of the Parliament (MPs') from 30 - 31 July, in Vilabouly District, Savanakhet Province.
According to the Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS 2011-2012), more than 20 per cent of Lao women, particularly in rural and remote areas, want to delay or avoid pregnancy but do not have access to or are not using an effective method of family planning due to diverse factors which puts them and their babies at higher risk of dying during pregnancy and childbirth.
"Family Planning is not about limiting the number of children. Family Planning is about giving couples the right to plan their families and decide whether, when, how often and how many children they want so it's safe and healthy for mothers and babies" said Prof Dr Phonethep Pholsena, Director General of Social and Cultural Affairs Committee from the NA.
Every day at least 2 Lao women die during pregnancy and childbirth. Voluntary family planning could reduce these deaths and save the lives of many babies by enabling women to delay first pregnancy, space later pregnancies at safe intervals, and stop bearing children when they have reached their desired family size. The workshop emphasised that FP services should be available and accessible for all who needs it regardless of marital status, ethnicity, or age (Birth Spacing Policy, 1995).
The workshop aimed to raise awareness and understanding among MPs on the importance of family planning and minimize misconceptions about it as well as to obtain greater support from MPs to advocate for family planning within the NA and the Government.
In addition to the workshop, the MPs visited Vilabouly District Hospital and Health Centres to meet and discuss with Community Midwives, Community-Based Distributors and villagers to comprehend how the provision of family planning information and services has impacted positively the well-being of local people.
The event saw the participation of parliamentarians from the Social and Cultural Affairs Committee and members of the Lao Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (LAPPD), as well as officials from the Ministries of Health, Planning and Investment, Education and Sports at central and provincial levels, and officers from the Savannakhet Governor's Office.
For more Information please contact:
Ms. Vanly Lorkuangming, Communications Associate, UNFPA