UNFPA’s mission is: delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. UNFPA efforts are guided by several frameworks, most importantly the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015. UNFPA’s primary goal is to achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health (including family planning), promoting reproductive rights, reducing maternal mortality towards accelerating progress on the ICPD agenda .UNFPA also focuses on improving the lives of young people by facilitating access to information and services and addresses concerns of women and girls in furthering their human rights. Population dynamics, including growth rates, age structure, fertility and mortality and migration have an effect on every aspect of human, social and economic progress. Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and women's empowerment all powerfully affect and are influenced by population trends and therefore research and policy advocacy on population dynamics is another important priority area for UNFPA. UNFPA partners with governments, other United Nations agencies, communities, non-governmental organization, foundations and the private sector to raise awareness and mobilize the support and resources to achieve its mission.
What we do in Namibia
UNFPA began its assistance to the Government of the Republic of Namibia in 1991 by supporting the preparation and conduct of the first national census, by delivering reproductive health commodities and by building national capacity. The first country programme was approved for 1991-1995. The current UNFPA country program (5th CPD 2014 -2018) takes into account national development policies, the goals and objectives of the ICPD and its reviews, mid-term review results of UNFPA Strategic Plan 2014-2017, and Business Plan. The current country programme contributes to four UNFPA strategic plan outcomes to improve quality of life and reduce inequalities for the achievement of universal access to sexual and reproductive health. In order to maintain gains achieved during the fourth country programme, UNFPA will provide upstream support at the national level and targeted interventions for marginalized, indigenous groups, and vulnerable rural and urban communities in four of the country’s thirteen regions (Caprivi, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa and Ohangwena).
Ensuring every pregnancy is wanted
UNFPA supports the Government of Namibia and Civil Society Organizations to address challenges related to occurrence of unintended pregnancies. The Namibian Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 revealed that 50.2 percent of women aged 15 to 49 use modern contraceptives, with a marginal four points increase between 2006 and 2013. With regard to teenage pregnancy, 19 percent of women age 15-19 have begun childbearing, though some regions report proportions of more than 30 percent. Many women and girls continue to experience gender inequality and gender based violence especially domestic and sexual violence, with 33 percent of ever married women having experienced physical, sexual and emotional violence from their spouse.
In addressing these challenges, UNFPA supports the Government to:
•Address human resource skills gap to ensure provision of wide range of contraceptive methods including for young people •Strengthen the reproductive health commodity security system to ensure there are no stock-outs of contraceptives services at health facilities •Reach out to adolescents and young people through comprehensive sexuality education for informed choices about contraceptive to avoid unintended pregnancies •Strengthen institutional capacity for the prevention and management of gender based violence
Ensuring every childbirth is safe
Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) has shown a rising trend from 1992 to 2006 with a slight decline in 2013 of 385 per 100,000 live births. This has a direct bearing on the quality of life of the surviving children and leads to long-term negative social and economic consequences. HIV/AIDS is also a development concern for Namibia. The HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women attending antenatal care services was 16.9 percent in 2014. Young people in the 15-24 age range are an important group to monitor with regard to reductions in HIV incidence at the population level (UN General Assembly, 2001). HIV prevalence among those age 15-24 is low (3.6 percent); by region, Zambezi has the highest HIV prevalence among young people (16.3 percent).
In this regard, UNFPA works with the Government and partners to:
•Provide high-quality, emergency obstetric and new-born care•Implement the Road Map for Accelerating the Reduction of Maternal and Neonatal Morbidity and Mortality•Implement knowledge management interventions to provide the necessary data to inform policies and programmes•Ensure access and increase uptake of SRH/HIV integrated services especially for women and adolecents girls
Every young person’s potential is fulfilled
Namibia is predominantly youthful population with 66 percent of the population below the age of 30 and average life expectancy is 62.6 year. Their reproductive choices will shape future demographic trends.UNFPA supports the Government and partners to provide for the rights and needs of young people, including the right to accurate information and services related to sexuality and reproductive health. The supported programmes aim at building skills for health workers on the provision of integrated sexual and reproductive health and HIV services and adolescent-friendly health services.Investing in young people, especially adolescent girls, is one of the smartest investments a country can make. UNFPA strives to unleash the potential of young people through the realization of their rights and dignity through what is known today as Demographic Dividend (DD). The DD is when a household has fewer children that they need to take care of, and a larger number of people who have decent jobs, the household can save and invest more money. When this happens on a large scale, economies can benefit from a boost in economic growth. The key to harnessing the demographic dividend is enabling young people and adolescent girls in particular – to enjoy their human rights to achieve their potential. This implies: Empowerment + Education + Employment = Demographic Dividend.
Delivering a world where every pregnance is wanted every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled
Ms. DENNIA I. GAYLE is a development practitioner, with over 15 years of professional experience in the formulation, management and oversight of health promotion programs in the area of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. Prior to joining UNFPA