Integrating population issues within the Social Affairs Ministry [Archives:2008/1176/Local News]

July 28 2008

Ismail Al-Ghabiri
SANA'A, July 27 ) Yemen's social affairs minister has announced that the ministry will incorporate the concept of “population affairs” into its plans and programs for 2009.

“Social affairs greatly affect population issues, considering the fact that the family represents society in general because it is a cornerstone in building a healthy society; thus, any trouble affecting the family could reflect negatively on all segments of society,” Social Affairs and Labor Minister Amatalrazak Ali Hummad said, further stressing the significance of integrating social problems regarding women into population issues.

The Yemeni government handles population issues through its two main bodies: the Health and Population Ministry and the National Population Council.

Hummad explained, “Our ministry will work to integrate population issues into its plans in a scientific, systematic and planned manner in order to create a starting point to develop scheduling and reorder priorities, resume meetings with the various concerned parties and share views with the other development partners in an effort to arrive at a more explicit vision that may achieve the desired integration.”

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, represented by the Directorate General for Women and Children – a project involving integrating women into development – is a key partner in implementing the 2007-2011 operating plan for the United Nations Population Fund's country program.

“Integrated within the ministry's annual program will be activities involving three components: gender issues, population development and reproductive health,” said Rashida Ali Al-Nusairi, coordinator of the Social Affairs Ministry's population policy programs, adding that the ministry now is working to implement activities and work on each component in coordination with the appropriate authorities in order to have a technical unit with which to coordinate.

“For example,” she explained, “regarding the population component, our operating programs are formulated and implemented in coordination with the National Population Council and have the technical support unit for that purpose.”

Al-Nusairi further explained the importance of inserting this concept into the Social Affairs Ministry's plan, saying, “One component of UNFPA's country program is to build human capital and improve social protection networks' performance in such a way as to assist us in achieving the Millennium Development Goals via the program's main components, as the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is a key partner in executing this program.”

In this regard, the Social Affairs Ministry will coordinate with the Health Ministry to increase both men's and women's awareness of the causes and risks of constant pregnancies and childbirths, in addition to increasing women's participation in decision-making regarding searching out the best health services.

More than 30,000 boxes of supplies to ensure clean births at home recently were produced and distributed to the needy in rural areas.

Additionally, the establishment of three production plants is underway in several governorates, resulting from the cooperation between the Social Affairs Ministry and the Health Ministry. All legal measures have been finalized and the Social Affairs Ministry's name has been attached to the productions.

Al-Nusairi noted that there are both domestic- and foreign-budgeted support projects to integrate women into development and implement the aforementioned three components.

“However, the budget should be increased due to the pressing need for activities such as women's increased participation in economic development through producing and marketing the necessary requirements for safe home births, thereby ensuring safe births for those unable to reach hospitals or health centers, particularly in those areas not supplied with health services,” she concluded.