11 Jul 2012

Reproductive health issues a continued Pacific concern

6:48 pm on 11 July 2012

The Pacific United Nations Population Fund says messages about reproductive health do not seem to be getting through in the region.

The fertility rate in the Pacific, while lower than the Africa region's 4.5 children per woman, is still higher than the rest of the world.

The United Nations Population Fund Sub-Regional Office's director, Dirk Jena, says the services of reproductive health services have improved over the years.

However, he says while teen pregnancy has declined, it remains extremely high and the use of modern contraceptives among women has stalled at just 30 to 40 percent.

"The old message of trying to postpone your first birth, and trying to postpone your second birth, for the well-being and the good health of the woman, that message has not really picked up in the Pacific so there must be a reason for that."

Dirk Jena says that's why they are trying to get not just parliamentarians, but faith-based leaders and traditional chiefs involved in the promotion of family planning for reproductive health.