Under the report dubbed ‘Worlds Apart’, UNFPA says that gender inequality and inequalities in realizing sexual and reproductive health and rights is still a problem in developing countries.
The report says that the unmet demand for family planning in developing countries is generally greatest among women in the poorest 20% of households.
It says that without access to contraception, poor women, particularly those who are less educated and live in rural areas, are at heightened risk of unintended pregnancies.
According to the report, unintended pregnancies may result in health risks and lifelong economic repercussions.
It says that lack of power to decide whether, when or how often to become pregnant can limit education, delay entry into the paid labour force and reduce earnings.
The report suggests that making information and services more widely available and accessible will lead to better reproductive health outcomes.
“But this is only part of the solution. Unless we start addressing the structural and multidimensional inequalities within our societies, we will never attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health for all” the authors of the report advise.
The report says that in many developing countries, women who are poor, in the bottom 20% of the income scale, and particularly those who are in rural areas, are far less likely to have access to contraceptives and to care during pregnancy and birth than their wealthier urban counterparts.
According to the report, among adolescents, who face the extra vulnerabilities associated with being young, those in the poorest 20% of households in developing countries have about three times as many births as adolescents in the richest 20% of households. Those in rural areas have twice as many births as their counterparts in cities.
Rwanda made remarkable progress
The report says that Rwanda transformed both access and equality to contraceptive services between 2005 and 2015.
“Rwanda made the fastest progress among about 60 developing countries over a 10-year period in satisfying the demand for modern contraception. The success is attributable to government efforts to make family planning services available in each of the country’s 14,841 administrative villages through 45,000 community health workers. Measures included introduction of long-lasting contraceptive methods, and integration of family planning services in hospitals and health centres” the report reads in part.
The Director General of Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Dr. Condo Jeanine Umutesi said that the reason Rwanda has no disparity problems was due to inclusive health and social welfare programmes the government has introduced.
“The government of Rwanda has done its possibilities to reduce disparity gap among families, those are VUP in terms of welfare. In health sector, child mortality rate has reduced and all pregnant women have access services to medical care” she explained.