It’s World Population Day and so stories about population today are popular (pun intended).
The United Nations is marking the day by focusing on the need to improve family planning and reproductive health services for adolescent girls. As the LA Times and Huffington Post have noted, the global population is still rapidly increasing and we have more adolescents – and pregnant adolescent girls – than ever before.
Writing in the Guardian, Julia Bunting with International Planned Parenthood Federation, makes the case that ‘improving women’s and children’s health and wellbeing is central to creating more prosperous families, communities and nations.’ Bunting notes that this recognition has come slowly, and begrudgingly:
A basic flaw in the millennium development goals (MDGs) established in 2000 was the failure to include sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). Access to contraception wasn’t even a consideration until 2005, and wasn’t incorporated into the MDGs until 2007. It meant that a proven strategy for improving health and reducing poverty was absent from development efforts for almost a decade.