The Students and Youth Working on reproduction Actin Team (SAYWHAT) joins the world in celebrating the World Population Day, a day annually observed on the 11th of July aimed at raising awareness of global population issues. Established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, the day was inspired by the public interest in Five Billion Day on July 11, 1987, the approximate date on which the world’s population reached five billion people.
Themed: ‘Rights and choices are the answer: Whether baby boom or bust, the solution to shifting fertility rates lies in prioritizing the reproductive health and rights of all people’. The theme resonates with SAYWHAT`s work amongst adolescents and youths within the education fraternity which includes capacitation on the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, maternal health and human rights which aids adolescents and youths to make informed choices.
As the World continues battling the third wave of COVID-19, SAYWHAT continues encouraging adolescents and youths to prioritize reproductive health and rights through access to information and services in the face of fertility and demographic shifts. During the pandemic, disruptions in sexual and reproductive health services are aggravated where such services are deemed inessential. SAYWHAT in such trying times stands with students and young people, ensuring that they get the kind of contraception method they need, prioritizing such services as essential.
For SAYWHAT, this day is set aside to amplify the need of access to contraception for women and abolish disruptions that expose women to gender-based inequities: gender-based violence amid the lockdown environment, child marriages and female genital mutilation.
The time to break the silence is now. Let`s raise awareness, advocate, engage decision-makers to increase the political priority and catalyze action for safer, friendly and affordable SRH services for young people. A generation of healthy, responsible and empowered young people starts by the prioritization of reproductive health and rights by communities, policy makers, government officials and likeminded stakeholders. A better world is possible, free from inequity and gender based violence.
Happy World Population Day.