More than 200 million women in the world's poorest countries including Vietnam , especially the young or socially disadvantaged, did not have access to family planning services and information, heard a conference in Hanoi on November 16.

Making voluntary family planning available to everyone in developing countries will reduce costs for maternal and newborn health care by 11.3 billion USD annually, according to the State of World Population 2012, launched on November 16 by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The report also finds that financial resources for family planning have declined and contraceptive use has remained mostly steady.

However, there are signs of progress. Last July, at the London Summit on Family Planning, donor countries and foundations together pledged 2.6 billion USD to make it available to 120 million women in developing countries by 2020. Developing countries pledged 2 billion USD.

In Vietnam , data from the Ministry of Health and other population-based surveys indicated that Vietnam have made sustainable progress on family planning by integrating it into general health services.

However, certain population groups such as adolescents, young and unmarried people, migrants and ethnic minority people had limited access to family planning services and information.

As a result, a significant number of pregnancies are unexpected, especially among the young and unmarried groups, who account for 85 percent of unwanted pregnancies.

“Ensuring national access to family planning is protecting human rights,” said Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Viet Tien.

He also suggested that the gap between the demand for family planning and the availability of services must be bridged, starting with the most vulnerable.

Data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, undertaken by the Vietnam General Statistics Office in 2010, showed that 11.2 percent of married women had no access to contraception. The figure was 34.3 percent among unmarried women.

Takeshi Kasai, the World Health Organisation representative in Vietnam, suggested that the Government should adopt a financial policy to support a comprehensive family planning programme and provide national funding to ensure adequate supply and distribution of contraceptives.

Tien said that the government, civil society, medical service providers and communities must make sure that voluntary family planning is available to all who want it.

He also suggested diversifying family planning methods and enhancing the responsibility of health workers to inform the public about the choice of methods available.-VNA