UN Underscores The Need For RH Bill

Even as the Catholic Church will hold a prayer rally today at EDSA Shrine to oppose the passage of the measure, the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) underscored the need to pass the Reproductive Health (RH) bill.

WHO, UNAIDS, and UNFPA yesterday said the Philippine population is growing with more people living in poverty and more young women getting pregnant.

UNFPA country coordinator Ugochi Florence Daniels said the RH bill is important for the Philippines to achieve its health-related targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) like maternal health, HIV/AIDS and infant mortality.

The three agencies have reiterated their stand on the RH bill days before the House of Representatives is set to vote if debates on the measure should continue or not.

Daniels said that passing the bill is vital to enable couples to decide on the size of their family by making information and services available to them.

UNAIDS country coordinator Teresita Bagasao said that the lack of an RH law contributes to the increase in HIV/AIDS cases.

“More than 90 percent of new infections in the country are because of sexual transmission. That is high and these were caused by unprotected  sex. Those who are getting infected are getting younger and it speaks of lack of access to adequate information that will equip our boys and  girls, young men and women with information. We need those provisions in the RH bill,” she said.

According to WHO country representative Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, the issue on reproductive health and responsible parenthood is the same across all regions and “should not be misused as a political tool.”

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