Namibia to Scale Up Youth-Friendly Family Planning - Iipumbu

20 November 2019

Nairobi — Namibia will scale up youth-friendly family planning services and address barriers that prevent key populations from accessing public health care services. Namibia will also expand investments into skills training and employability of young Namibians.

These were among Namibia's commitment made by Deputy Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Lucia Iipumbu, who was the head of delegation to the recent International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 25 Nairobi summit held last week in Nairobi, Kenya .This commitment aims to end preventable maternal deaths, meet all women's demands for family planning, and stop violence against women and girls by 2030.

The government of Kenya, Denmark and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised the summit, which aimed to mobilise political will and financial commitment urgently needed to finally and fully implement the Programme of Action of the 1994 ICPD.

The summit also marked 25th anniversary of the adoption of the landmark programme of action of the ICPD by 179 government and other stakeholders in Cairo, Egypt in 1994.

Among others Namibia's commitments are to mobilise resources towards universal health coverage, and accelerate the reduction in preventable maternal and neo-natal morbidity and mortality.

Iipumbu said Namibia will also intensify the fight against Gender Based Violence, violence against children, and violence in general.

She said the country believes these measures would lead to delayed onset in child bearing, thereby reducing maternal and neo-natal morbidity and mortality. "Through these measures, we hope to increase the number of years in schools for both girls and boys, and ensure gender equality across the lifespan. This is Namibia's commitment to leaving no one behind," she remarked.

Namibia has a population of 2.4 million, and 66 percent of the population is below the age of 30. According to adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) in Namibia March 2018 provided by UNFPA, young people below the age of 25 constitute of 58% and adolescents (10-24 years) constitute 33% of the total population.

UNFPA key SRH indicators show that about 9% of young women aged 15-19 had unmet need for family planning. About 19% of young women aged 15-19 have a child, while 8.5% of recent births to mothers under 20 were unplanned. The statistics further indicate 68.7% of young women aged between 15 to 19 were able to participate in decisions about their health care.

Iipumbu said Namibia fully subscribes to and reaffirms her commitment to the achievement of all the SDGs, particularly SDG3, 4 and 5 on "health and education for all gender equality", as they relate to the ICPD25.

She said the country believe these goals are fundamental to achieving inclusive development and eradicating poverty.

Iipumbu said the country believes the health and education of women, men, adolescents and children is fundamental to its development.

"To this end, the Namibian government spends close to 14 percent of public expenditure on public health system at an average of 450 USD per capita, and close to 25 percent of education at all levels. We are making great strides in improving access through universal access to primary and secondary education, which has achieved equity and gender parity at primary level, she said. Despite these gains, Iipumbu said the country noted with concern a high attrition rate at secondary level that is leaving the boy child behind, one of the big drivers for out of school adolescent girls is early and unintended pregnancy.

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