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Parliamentarians to discuss population issues at retreat

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 12, 2012) – Unwanted pregnancies among teenagers in Vanuatu was one of the population-related issues to dominate discussions at a parliamentary retreat in Port Vila last week.

The Vanuatu Family Health Association’s Julius Ssnabulya, says it is unclear whether there is a higher rate of teenage pregnancies now because past records were not well maintained.

But he says it is obviously a problem as there are a number of cases of abortion and infanticide

"We realize the issue is a big one and is costing the government in terms of hospital bills and service delivery. We are now focusing so much on finding out why and what is happening."

Julius Ssnabulya says the focus of the retreat was to get support from MPs and says while the population is increasing, as is demand for services, funding for family planning is reducing.

[PIR editor’s note: Government officials at the retreat plan to address pregnancies and other family planning concerns with a new population policy which aims to reduce unintended teenage pregnancies, maternal mortality, manages rural-to-urban migration and provides in-depth analyses of census and survey data for development purposes. These and other elements are being worked into plans to meet Millennium Development Goals as part of a United Nations' sponsored international program.]

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