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Diverse Partners Renew Commitment to Reproductive Health, Rights in Asia
Date:10/31/2007

HYDERABAD, India, Oct. 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Asia is moving too slowly in reducing maternal deaths, enabling young people to avoid HIV and making family planning more accessible, regional experts, advocates and activists agreed today.

Existing commitments and know-how must be applied more effectively to tackle these and other reproductive health challenges, according to An Open Letter to Governments adopted at the end of a three-day forum here.

Some 1,300 people from civil society and governments in 42 countries joined the Fourth Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights (http://www.4apcrsh.org/aboutus.asp), one in an ongoing review series since governments pledged in 1994 to make reproductive health services accessible to everyone by 2005.

UNFPA, the United Nation Population Fund, was part of the international steering committee and provided partial support for the meeting.

In an opening session subtitled, "An unfinished agenda," UNFPA Deputy Executive Director, Purnima Mane, noted that Asia continues to have "high rates of unintended pregnancies, high rates of maternal death and disability, increasing numbers of new HIV infections, and persistent and widespread violence against women and girls," despite the region's progress in reducing poverty.

Action to address these concerns is far-reaching, and presenters in a diverse mix of sessions detailed program experiences in many countries, along with analysis of the reasons efforts still fall short of needs. The discussions on maternal health and family planning cited commitments made at the Women Deliver (http://www.womendeliver.org) conference earlier this month, and the need to improve national health systems' ability to serve the poor.

Adolescents' need for critical information was a major theme. There were impassio
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SOURCE UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund
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