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Thursday, February 9, 2012

LUSA: Timor-Leste: parliamentary group wants to end women’s deaths in childbirth

LUSA: Timor-Leste: parliamentary group wants to end women’s deaths in childbirth (unofficial translation)

Dili, 07 Feb (LUSA) - The President of the Timor-Leste Women's Parliamentary Group, Josefa Soares, (and FRETILIN Deputy parliamentary leader) argued that more must be done today so that women do not die during childbirth in the country.  "The Government has made an effort to reduce problems related to reproductive health, but we still have to do more so that women and babies do not die during childbirth," the Member of Parliament (MP) stated to Lusa.

Josefa Soares spoke to Lusa following the submission of a report on reproductive health, released Monday in Parliament for the early commemoration of International Women's Day, as this year the actual date will coincide with the presidential election campaign for elections on March 17.  The report was submitted after the National Conference on Reproductive Health in 2010.  According to the report, Timor’s maternal mortality rate is 577 per 100,000 live births and the rate of teenage pregnancy is 51 per 1,000 girls, the highest in Southeast Asia.

"There are many factors that contribute to a young girl or woman becoming pregnant too early, the first is the lack of knowledge and sex education, the second is the lack of family planning, the third is economic factors," explained the FRETILIN MP.

According to Josefa Soares, one of the proposals in parliament is to include sex education in schools in order to improve information for young people and further increase the use of family planning.  The number of women using family planning increased from 11 percent in 2003 to 22 percent in 2010 and the fertility rate declined from 7.8 in 2003 to 5.7 in 2010.  The report also shows that the number of girls attending school increased, as did enrollment of girls in secondary and technical schools.

"The Timorese woman wants to move forward and we are preparing the resources to support this. It depends on the Government, whichever government, to facilitate so that the human resources that are being prepared are not dependent on others," she said.


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