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English Release 1-November 2014
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Ministry of Health and Family Welfare10-November, 2012 19:06 IST
Ghulam Nabi Azad Chairs the Opening Session of International Conference on Population and Development at Dhaka
Partners in Population and Development (PPD) is an intergovernmental initiative created specifically for the purpose of expanding and improving South-to-South collaboration in the fields of reproductive health, population, and development

 

Partners in Population and Development (PPD) is an intergovernmental initiative created specifically for the purpose of expanding and improving South-to-South collaboration in the fields of reproductive health, population, and development.

PPD was launched at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), when ten developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America formed an intergovernmental alliance to help implement the Cairo Program of Action (POA).

PPD has presently 25 members countries committed to the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action, willing to provide political, technical and financial support to South-South Cooperation. While there were only 10 developing countries at the time of formation of the Organization in 1994, over the years PPD’s membership has increased to 25 developing countries across Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America covering more than 57% of total world population. The PPD member countries are: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Thailand, Viet Nam, Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Uganda, Benin, Senegal, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Nigeria.

PPD is currently chaired by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, who has been unanimously elected to the post in the 16th Annual Board Meeting of PPD held in Pretoria, South Africa in 2011.

Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, who is currently on an official tour to Bangladesh capital Dhaka, today participated in the opening session of the two-day International Conference on “Evidence for Action: South-South Collaboration for ICPD beyond 2014”, organized jointly by Partners in Population and Development (PPD) and the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

Following is the text of the keynote address delivered by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India at the opening ceremony of the two-day International Conference at Dhaka today, i.e. 10th November 2012:

“There are very few countries in the world whose destinies are so intrinsically interlinked as India and Bangladesh.

 

We share common cultural, economic and political history.  We also share the longest land borders with each other. Many of us have the same religious beliefs, language, customs and aspirations. These are factors which encourage cooperation in every possible area.

 

The recently concluded year-long joint celebrations of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore are a testimony of our shared cultural ethos and heritage.  

 

Today, it gives me great pleasure to be here in Dhaka to inaugurate the International Conference on “Evidence for Action: South-South Collaboration for ICPD beyond 2014”, organized jointly by Partners in Population and Development (PPD) and the Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

 

As Chair of PPD and on behalf of all Board Members of PPD, I extend a warm welcome to all for taking time out and travelling to this warm and beautiful country. 

 

My heartfelt thanks to the Government of Bangladesh for assistance provided in the organization of this conference - most especially, to His Excellency Prof. Ruhal Haque for his unflagging support and mentoring of PPD.

 

As the 20th anniversary of the ICPD and the deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals approach, governments across the world have renewed their commitment to the ICPD Programme of Action and there is renewed focus on population stabilization.

 

The visionaries who forged ICPD have much to be proud of; impressive achievements have been made since ICPD in 1994 with worldwide reduction in fertility rate, increased contraceptive use and slowing of population growth rate.

 

It is encouraging that global total fertility rate has fallen from 3.2 in 1994 to 2.4 in 2012. However there is great variation across countries from 1.1 to a high of 7.1.

 

In PPD member countries the TFR ranges from 1.5 in China to 6.3 in Mali.

 

Statistics reveal that 867 million women of child bearing age in developing countries have a need for modern contraception out of which only 645 million have access to them.

Thus a staggering 222 million women have no access to contraception.

 

I note with great concern that every year an estimated 10 million girls across countries get married before 18 years of age.

 

Early marriage remains a challenge for many PPD countries. In addition to this, adolescent boys and girls have poor access to information and services on sexual and reproductive health. This further compounds the problem. We have to work with renewed vigor in removing obstacles to provision of Family Planning services whether these are related to availability of information, commodities and services or to do with economic circumstances and social constraints.

 

The renewed focus on family planning and its repositioning globally is a very welcome development.

 

I wish to emphasize that Family Planning is central to improving health outcomes.

 

I am very happy to share with you that at the recent London Family Panning Summit, some of the PPD member countries made encouraging commitments.

 

There was a discussion on how to make those commitments a reality through South-South Cooperation.

 

I assure that, PPD as an organization intends to push this agenda forward.

 

In India, under the National Rural Health Mission, we have already brought about a paradigm shift in our approach to family planning.

 

Our key strategy is to promote and provide spacing methods, considering that 45% of our maternal deaths occur in the age group of 15 to 25 years.

 

47% of our total fertility is also clustered in this age group.

 

In order to promote wider health benefits and well-being, we are moving away from limiting to delaying and spacing.

 

Contraceptives are being made available at the doorstep through 8,60,000 community health workers.

 

There is a great push toward ensuring availability of IUCD services on fixed days at 150,000 rural health sub-centers at the community level through our 200,000 strong workforce of Auxiliary Nurse Midwives.

 

There is emphasis on providing post-partum IUCD services in public health facilities.  More than 12 million of our women give birth in public health institutions alone.

 

Our efforts have yielded results. India has witnessed the steepest fall in growth rate since independence - 17.64% decadal growth during 2001-2011.

 

India is committed to ensuring that family planning information, services and commodities are provided absolutely free to every client in every nook and corner of our large and diverse country. 

 

We have already developed indigenous capacity, in public and private sectors, to manufacture the entire range of family planning commodities. Many of these are now being exported.

 

We recognize the challenge of unmet need and in India Family Planning is a central part of our efforts to ensure Universal Health Coverage.

 

As part of our Universal Health Coverage, we are also according the highest priority to Maternal and Child mortality which are the gravest among poor and vulnerable populations. Equity and Quality are the cornerstones of our strategy.

 

This International Inter-Ministerial conference is aimed at providing a platform for PPD member countries and other key stakeholders to discuss and create a southern consensus and commitment both financial and political for the post 2015 development framework.

 

The outcome of the Conference will be a declaration, adopted by 25 ministers of developing countries which will reflect the views and recommendations from southern countries and other stakeholders which will contribute to and lay the foundation for planning of ICPD beyond 2014 and also MDGs beyond 2015. 

 

Before I conclude, I once again welcome you to this warm and beautiful country and wish you successful deliberations.”

****

AKS/


(Release ID :88981)

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