UNPF Program Makes Progress in Yemen [Archives:1998/47/Health]

November 23 1998

Ms. Kerstin Trone, Deputy Executive Director (Program), United Nations Population Fund has recently visited Yemen. She came to learn about the progress of UNPF program in particular.
The program of collaboration with the government of Yemen started in January 1998. It is UNPF’s second program since the unification of the Republic of Yemen in May 22, 1990.
Interview by Dr. Salah Haddash, Yemen Times Managing Editor.
Q: What is your program concerned with?
A: It is primarily concerned with reproductive health and family planning. There are components of population and health strategies that include supporting the National Population Council. We will also have a component of adequacy on issues linked to population and reproductive health.
Q: Have you conducted field visits?
A: I visited developmental projects such as clinics, youth projects, agricultural and irrigation projects, water and sewerage plants and all projects associated with reproductive health.
Q: What are the main population problems in Yemen?
A: There are a lot of essential needs in Yemen. For example, maternal mortality is still very high, contraceptive prevalence is still very low and infant mortality is still high as usual.
Judging from the meetings I have had, there is recognition at the highest level for population issues and problems. This is of course what you need to be able to progress. You have various programs to deal with these issues already. But you should also have guaranteed political support from the very highest level, which will help so much to overcome these problems.
Q: How do you estimate problems concerning population?
A: There is still a visible lack of information, information systems and analyses. Hence complete details about the issues of population are required for all development programs.
All people at the government level are concerned with high population growth rate, because this problem might be doubled in a very short period of time. The results will reflect negatively on the Yemeni economy. Rapid population growth will create different dilemmas such as health risks of early marriages, frequent pregnancies at the very early and late ages.
Q: Could you specify how these problems can be solved?
A: All the previously mentioned hazardous phenomena are not well quantified by figures. We still have a lot to do on registration, recording data and providing information to the public and international organizations for the aim of society and development.
All standards are set by the international community in general and the International Conference of Population and Development (1984) in particular. All world countries signed the convention, including Yemen. As certain international goals are set, every country has to state its goals clearly and work accordingly.
Q: How much progress has Yemen made towards achieving these goals?
A: Yemen already has its own population strategy. Our main goals are to provide you with facts, information, data, experience and lessons from what is happening elsewhere.
All detailed programs have a lot of things to do with women status, pregnancy, and female activities. So even now we do not know accurately what are the funds needed to be spent for general education programs either in scholastic and/or undergraduate levels.
We do know that along with males, the need for education of females is always crucial and important. Our program here should always reach the standard of adequacy in all fields, including reproductive health and for all other developments in Yemen without exclusion.