Progress and prospects in reproductive health in the Asian and Pacific region

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Progress on a range of reproductive health indicators can be documented for Asia and the Pacific in the period since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994. Rates of contraceptive use have increased concurrent with improvements in access to a wider variety of contraceptive methods. Child mortality has decreased as has, to a lesser extent, maternal morbidity. Issues of sexual health are being addressed more vigorously and adolescent sexual and reproductive health is now on most national agendas. There is, however, no room for complacency. While international attention is focused on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is clear that further improvement of reproductive health programmes is essential for reaching the targets of the MDGs. Reproductive health programmes in the Asian and Pacific region need to improve the quality of care, popularize and support reproductive and sexual health rights, assist women and men communicate with each other about their reproductive and sexual health needs, and more actively serve the needs of young people. More effective reproductive health programmes based on a respect for reproductive health rights will help alleviate poverty, promote gender equity, improve maternal and child health, and reduce the burden of HIV.