Marie Stopes hosts school debate


A VOLUNTARY family planning organisation through its advocacy project – Rights at Every Level – hosted a school debate in Port Moresby last Wednesday.
Marie Stopes PNG (MSPNG) held the debate at Gerehu Secondary to encourage youths to advocate with their peers on the importance and benefits of youths accessing family planning and reproductive health information and services.
The Grade 11 students debated on the topic: Youths in PNG should have access to family planning and reproductive health care information and services.
MSPNG country director Maarten van de Reep said: “Young people make up bulk of Papua New Guinea’s population and it’s important to provide awareness to them through such innovative activities like school debate to allow them to take ownership of the messages and be empowered to make better choices in life.
“Family planning shapes lives and can help reduce the high number of unwanted pregnancy amongst youths.
“In Papua New Guinea, 22 per cent of teenagers have had at least one child and many will drop out of school and marry young.”
He said this had increased the risk of pregnancy-related deaths by one-third and had social impacts on girls, women, families and communities.
“Providing access to safe modern methods of family planning can change all this,” Reep said.
“Increasing voluntary access to comprehensive family planning is the most effective way to reduce rapid population growth and achieve a healthy, sustainable population.”
He said teens having access to family planning was vital to national development, nationa building and managing population grwoth in Papua New Guinea.
The project is funded by the Danish Government and implemented by MSPNG in seven provinces.
It aims at disseminating the principles and values of the 2014 National Family Planning Policy to government health workers and community leaders.
MSPNG thanked Gerehu Secondary School for hosting the debate and Nambawan Trophy Limited for partly sponsoring the trophies to the students.

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