Social Development launches State of the World Population 2019 Report, 9 Apr

The State of the World Population 2019 Report which focuses on reproductive health is launched in Pretoria

The National Department of Social Development, together with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), will on 10 April 2019 launch the State of the World Population 2019 Report in Pretoria, Gauteng.

Titled: Unfinished Business: The Pursuit of Rights and Choices for All, the 2019 report focuses on the improvements made in reproductive health and it is being launched on the anniversary of two key milestones. The year 2019 marks 50 years since UNFPA began operations in 1969 as the first United Nations agency to address population growth and reproductive health needs.

This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) where 179 governments called for all people to have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare – including voluntary family planning and access to safe pregnancy and childbirth services.

The State of the World Population 2019 Report shows that there has been substantial improvement in the aforementioned areas from 1969 to date. According to statistics in the report, the average number of births per woman was 4.8 in 1969, compared to 2.9 in 1994 and 2.5 in 2019. The fertility rate in some of the least developed countries dropped from 6.8 in 1969, to 5.6 in 1994 and 3.9 in 2019.

The number of women who died from pregnancy-related causes decreased from 369 per 100,000 live births in 1994 to 216 in 2015. In addition, 24% of women used modern contraceptives in 1969 compared to 52% in 1994 and 58% in 2019.

However, reproductive rights are still out of reach for a substantial number of women, including the more than 200 million women who want to prevent a pregnancy but cannot gain access to modern contraceptive information and services.

The State of the World Population 2019 Report includes data on women’s ability to make decisions on three key areas:

sexual intercourse with their partner;

use of contraception; and

health care.

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa protects the right of persons to make decisions concerning reproduction and to security in and control over their bodies. In 1997, Parliament enacted the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act (Act No. 92 of 1996), which places an obligation on Government to provide reproductive health services to all, including safe conditions under which the right of choice can be exercised without fear or harm.

In 2015, Cabinet approved the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Framework Strategy (2014-2019). The strategy resonates with the vision of the Population Policy of South Africa (1998) and seeks to pave the way for addressing challenges relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.

In July 2018, the National Department of Social Development in partnership with the Rhodes University Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction Research Programme, the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition and the International Campaign for Women’s Rights to Safe Abortion, hosted an international conference titled Abortion and Reproductive Justice: The Unfinished Revolution III to assert the Department’s stance.

Source: Government of South Africa