THE EARTH TIMES
MAY 31 – JUNE 14,1995
Reproductive health is emphasized
BY ASHALI VARMA
Malacca, Malaysia—At a workshop arranged by the International Council on Management of Population Programmes (ICOMP) and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) over 40 participants from 10 Asian countries shared experiences concerning innovative approaches to youth reproductive health programs.
The workshop, which was held in this historic resort between June 1-4, was the first of its kind in dealing with educating youth about reproductive health.
Asia has 957 million people between the ages of 10 and 24 and there are few existing programs that deal with the urgent need to educate young people on reproductive health and the prevention of STDs and HIV infections. But the rate of HIV infections in South East Asia is growing at an alarming rate-second only to Africa. According to the Global AIDS Policy
Coalition, 4.2 million people in Southeast Asia are infected with the HIV virus. The need to have a comprehensive policy on educating adolescents on preventive measures has become of paramount importance, according to workshop participants.
The ICOMP workshop was attended by government officials, NGOs and international agencies from Malaysia, Thailand, India, Vietnam, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. Case histories of successful programs were presented by program managers from India, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Professor Jay Sathia, executive director of ICOMP, said at the conclusion of the workshop, that “through this exercise we have come to the conclusion that we need a much wider participation on youth centered development,’ especially when it comes to educating and informing young people on all aspects of reproductive health.”