ADDIS ABABA, July 4 (Xinhua) -- A high-level advocacy Workshop on universal access to reproductive health services was held on Wednesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the run up to the World Population Day and the Summit on Family Planning to take place on July 11 in London.
The workshop involving the Federal Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and other stakeholders was organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
The workshop is intended to generate input for the Ethiopian high level delegation to be led by Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Health, to the Summit in London.
The London Summit is organized by the UNFPA in partnership with the government of UK and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The summit is believed to be an invaluable opportunity to galvanize global support and raise considerable amount of funds for the urgent acceleration of efforts to address unmet need for family planning of an additional 120 million women and girls worldwide, according to the UNFPA.
UNFPA said the summit will seek to focus efforts for the next five years in 69 countries, one among which is Ethiopia where unmet need for family planning is highest.
The advocacy workshop in Addis Ababa deliberated on the theme of the World Population Day this year, "Universal Access to Reproductive Health Services."
According to UNFPA, the theme was chosen to re-energize commitments towards universal access to reproductive health and recognize those who provide information, services, and supplies.
The World Population Day serves as an occasion to recognize the people who made progress possible, those who helped increase access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights- such as midwives, community based health workers and others. The occasion also serves to appreciate individuals who helped shape policies, write laws and allocate budgets, said the UNFPA.
The advocacy workshop also deliberated on such issues as achievements made so far and existing challenges in improving access to family planning as well as how to address the very high unmet need in Ethiopia.
Presentations were made on issues of universal access to reproductive health services and family planning.
Benoit Kalasa, UNFPA representative, made presentation on the Demographic Transition in Ethiopia among other presentations by other presenters.
According to the 2011 Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS), fertility in Ethiopia has declined modestly over the past decade and women in the country have an average of 4.8 children, down from 5.5 in 2000.
The EDHS says fertility varies by residence whereby women in urban areas have 2.6 children on average, compared with 5.5 children per woman in rural areas.
The report shows that 12 percent of young women age 15-19 have already began childbearing: 10 percent are mothers, and an additional 2 percent are pregnant with their first child.
Regarding family planning, the 2011 EDHS says knowledge of family planning methods in Ethiopia is nearly universal; 97 percent of all women and 98 percent of all men age 15-49 know at least one modern method of family planning. The most commonly known methods are injectables, male condoms, and the pill.