United Nations Population Fund
The United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) began funding population programs in 1969. It was renamed the United Nations Population Fund in 1987, but kept its original abbreviation. UNFPA is the world's largest international source of funding for population and reproductive health programs. The Fund works with governments and NGOs in over 140 countries with the support of the international community, supporting programs that help women, men and young people:
- plan their families and avoid unwanted pregnancies
- undergo pregnancy and childbirth safely
- avoid sexually transmitted infections
- combat violence against women
- promote the equality of women
Together, these elements promote the human right of "reproductive health", that is physical, mental, and social health in matters related to reproduction and the reproductive system. UNFPA looks to improve the lives and expand the choices of individuals and couples. After time, the reproductive choices they choose, multiplied across communities and countries, affect population construction and trends.
In addition to direct action, UNFPA raises awareness of these needs worldwide, advocates close attention to population problems, and helps needy countries formulate policies and strategies in support of sustainable development. Since 2001, it has been led by Thoraya Ahmed Obaid of Saudi Arabia. Around three quarters of the staff work in the field.
UNFPA's work is guided by the Programme of Action adopted by 179 governments at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. The conference agreed that meeting people's needs for education and health, including reproductive health, is a prerequisite of sustainable development.
The main goals of the Programme of Action are:
- Universal access to reproductive health services by 2015
- Universal primary education and closing the gender gap in education by 2015
- Reducing maternal mortality by seventy-five percent by 2015
- Reducing infant mortality
- Increasing life expectancy
These goals were refined in 1999. One of the most important additions concerned HIV:
- HIV infection rates in persons 15-24 years of age should be reduced by 25 percent in the most-affected countries by 2005 and by 25 percent globally by 2010.
The Fund promotes a holistic approach to reproductive health care that includes access to a range of safe and affordable contraceptive methods and to sensitive counseling; prenatal care, attended deliveries, emergency obstetric care and post-natal care; and prevention of sexually transmitted infections by promoting safer sexual behavior.
Some of the UNFPA work involves the lead in providing supplies and services to protect reproductive health. They also encourage the participation of young people and women to help rebuild their societies who are affected by poor reproductive health which expands out into areas such as prevention of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
It is difficult and costly to accurately measure maternal mortality, and the results are not actionable. However, process indicators are monitoring tools that can provide information about where interventions are needed.
One example of a process indicator is whether there is skilled attendance at birth. This particular indicator will be used as a global benchmark to monitor progress towards the goal of maternal mortality reduction, as agreed at ICPD + 5.
Difficulties in measuring Maternal Mortality
Maternal morality rates and ratios are difficult and expensive to obtain and often inaccurate. Maternal mortality tends to be under-reported because people in developing countries often die outside the health system, which makes accurate registration of deaths difficult. In some studies, the actual number of maternal deaths was double or triple what was initially reported.
Maternal mortality is also misclassified, because health workers may not know why a woman died, or whether she was or had recently been pregnant. Deaths are sometimes intentionally misclassified, especially if they are associated with clandestine abortions.
Progress made regarding Maternal Mortality
Conversations for a Better World is an online social platform, supported by the United Nations Population Fund, created to be a user-interactive dialog space regarding the global issues of today and the forward-things solutions of tomorrow. This social platform is based on the ideology that conversation and interaction is the key to finding these solutions.
In this video, Conversations presents us with an update regarding progress in minimizing maternal mortality, Millennium Development Goal #5.
The 2010 State of World Population report
The 2010 State of World Population report from UNFPA focuses on women in post-conflict situations and natural disasters, paying particular attention to how well UN Security Council resolution 1325 is being implemented.
- ↑ UNFPA. (2010). Measuring Progress. Retrieved Dec 1, 2010, from UN Population Fund: http://www.unfpa.org/public/cache/offonce/mothers/pid/4389;jsessionid=098D98766CDF7DC09EEC51BA444C4632