World Population Report reveals promising figures about YemenThe promise of equality [Archives:2005/886/Front Page]

October 17 2005

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
SANA'A – Oct. 15 – “Gender Equity, Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goal for Alleviating Poverty and Protecting Citizens”. This is the slogan for the new report on the world population from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Yemen. Mr. Hans Obdeijn, UNFPA representative, confirmed on Saturday that the 2005 report on the state of the world population covers prestigious recommendations. And there are three particular issues to which Yemen should pay closer attention. Despite the great development achieved by the Yemeni government with the implementation of family planning, free medicine, mobile clinics and other population policies, there is more to be done.

The first issue concerns the Yemeni women. According to Mr. Obdeijn, Yemen should provide political and educational opportunities for women and girls and fighting violence against them. He says that this kind of investment will help in push the wheels of Yemen's development forward. More opportunities for women will improve the ailing economy, alleviate poverty and reduce the size of families so that children can be more healthy and well-educated. The education of women will also help reduce the rate of AIDS victims.

The studies indicate that when the woman has control over the family funds, she can succeed in fulfilling the needs of her family better than the man. Gender equality and a better climate for women depends highly on the participation of the men. They need to support the notion of equality and empower women to enjoy their rights.

The second issue related to Yemen, is the problem of reproductive health. This problem constitutes a threat to women from 15 to 49 years of age. 570 women die in every hundred thousand births per year because of pregnancy and births. Reproductive health, birth control and modern means for preventing pregnancy can end the problem and reduce the rate of maternal mortality.

The third point is the necessity to pay greater attention to the youth and the issues related to them. The report specifically focused on the vital and important role that should be played by youth in driving forward the wheels of development. Investing in the youth is an investment of the future.

On his part, Yemeni Minister of Public Health and Population, Dr. Mohamed al-N'umi, states that Yemen takes all the recommendations into account. He says that Yemen is committed to involving women in the country's development, because otherwise the social discrimination may paralyze a great portion of the society energies, raise the rate of maternal and infantile mortalities and obstruct efforts to alleviate poverty.

Dr. al-N'umi says, that Yemen has adopted national strategies to empower youth and improving their health, educational, social and economic situations. He added that a national survey is being conducted in order to study the future needs of the youth. Through spreading the reproductive health and family planning services, efforts are being made to create awareness about the importance of birth control.

According to the report, Yemen's population is expected to reach 59.5 million in 2050 and the country scores a high rate in infantile mortalities. 64 in every thousand breastfed infants die. The average longevity in Yemen is 60.2 years for males and 62.9 for females. 22% is the rate of births delivered under the supervision of professional practitioners.

There is also a deterioration in the educational level. Only 65% of males and 29% of females are enrolled in a secondary education. 31% is the illiteracy rate among males and 72% among females over 15 years of age.

The report exposed the economic gap and the slow development of Yemen compared to that in the Gulf countries, as well as the suffering of citizens and the violation of their rights. In assessing the situation in the different countries, the report relied on the population number, the average per capita income, the fertility rate and other indicators related to education and health.

The report, which says that prosperity of nations is correlated with the political will of leaders, put more emphasis on the generalization of elementary education, curbing the spread of AIDS and reducing mortality caused by birth. It assigned 2015 as a deadline for achieving the 8 millennium development goals.

The world population report records which of the development goals that has been achieved, searches for shortcomings and encourages utilizing experiences of other countries.

The report was launched by the Yemeni Ministry of Public Health and Population along with the United Nations Population Fund in Yemen, which is considered the biggest source for humanitarian aid. UNPFA has programs operating in over 140 countries across the world, including Yemen. In our country, the programs and activities funded by UNPFA is concerned with family planning, medical centers and the eradication of violence against women.