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Oman has made long strides in providing women with the needed reproductive health services and methods for birth spacing. It was fitting that on World Population Day 2019 (July 11), the achievements of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in ensuring improved health for women and empowering them to have a life full of potentials and accomplishments, were recognised.

'The Health Vision 2050 of the sultanate and MoH's mission focus on improving access to health services and ensuring equity in health service availability and utilisation. There are major developments regarding the health services available to women through many public clinics and hospitals. UNFPA GCC has been working with the Ministry of Health to ensure the availability of such services since the office's inauguration in 2006,' said Asr Ahmed Toson, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) representative of Sub-Regional Office for GCC states in Oman.

UNFPA GCC is marking the World Population Day this year by spreading the word and preparing the partners for the Nairobi Summit on International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in November. Therefore, it is important to refer to the following statement made by the executive director of UNFPA and ways to deliver the promises toward women and girls who are left behind.

UNFPA executive director Dr Natalia Kanem on World Population Day said, women have a right to make their own decisions about whether, when and how often to become pregnant. 'That right was reaffirmed in 1994 in Cairo at the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), where 179 governments agreed that sexual and reproductive health is the foundation for sustainable development. In Cairo, we imagined a future in which every pregnancy is intended because every woman and girl would have autonomy over her own body and be able to choose whether, when and with whom to have children,' she said.

She said that more than 200mn women and girls want to delay or prevent pregnancy but don't have the means.

'And it is the poorest women and girls, members of indigenous, rural and marginalised communities, and those living with disabilities, who face the greatest gaps in services. It is time to act now, urgently, to ensure that every woman and girl is able to exercise her rights. With greater contraceptive options, they can prosper as equal partners in sustainable development.

'The cost of inaction is simply too high: more women and girls dying, more unintended pregnancies, more pregnant girls shamed out of school, the potential of individuals and societies squandered. There is no time to waste. Our future depends on it.'

At a summit to be convened by Denmark, Kenya and UNFPA in Nairobi this November, the international community will have an opportunity to recommit to the promises they made in Cairo and transform the world we imagined in the ICPD Programme of Action into a reality for every woman and girl, she added.

'The summit will draw heads of state, thought-leaders, civil society organisations, young people, international financial institutions, private sector representatives and thousands of others who have a stake in the ongoing pursuit of sexual and reproductive health for all. We all have a stake in this. On this World Population Day, I call on all of us - governments, civil society, communities, and people from all sectors and walks of life - to be bold and courageous, to do what is right for women and girls around the world, to make real the possibilities that come with completing the unfinished business of Cairo,' she said.
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Publication:Muscat Daily (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Jul 17, 2019

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