unfpa-vanuatuIn the advent of the global 2030 Development Agenda, as countries around the world roll-out the 17 aspirational Sustainable Development Goals, it is opportune to see family planning, beyond human rights, but also through the lens of saving human lives and cost effectiveness to national socio-economic development.

Informed choice of couples and individuals regarding the number of children they desire and when, as well as improved access to contraception, have much potential to reduce poverty and hunger, avert one third of maternal deaths and nearly 20 percent of child deaths, contribute substantially to women’s empowerment and thus contribute significantly to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lorna Rolls, Assistant Representative of the United Nations Population Fund, said the unmet need for family planning is high among young married couples. “For young people, particularly adolescent girls, delaying pregnancy allow the time to focus on completing school and pursuing higher education, earn a better living and escape the trap of poverty. Investments in family planning thus create a cycle of economic empowerment and prosperity that carries well into future generations”.

Healthy, educated and economically productive women and families produce demographic dividends and fuels a country’s economic growth. According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), for each dollar spent on contraceptive services, the cost of pregnancy-related care is reduced by $2.30 due to declines in unintended pregnancies. UNFPA works with the Ministry of Health, and national partners to safeguard universal access to reproductive health and family planning in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu’s estimated population as of January 2017 stood at 273,755 and it is anticipated that the country’s population will reach 279,953 by the year 2018.