Health care has a significant role to play towards the social and economic health and development of our nation. Family planning is essential in contributing to this process. Family planning is one of the most cost effective health interventions that can have a positive effect on the health of women, children, families and communities. This has been an important platform over the years from which we have been moving towards improvements in the sexual and reproductive health of the population. Family Planning is also essential for us to achieve the Millennium Development Goals such as eradicating poverty, improving maternal health and reducing child mortality. Through family planning for example, infant mortality rate is reduced as women are able to delay motherhood, space out births, avoid unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.
Jamaica has found much success in terms of reducing the average number of children born to a woman from 4.5 in 1975 to 2.4 as at 2008, thanks to the sustained efforts of the National Family Planning Board. We are on target to meet the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s National Population Policy to ensure that the population rate is at a satisfactory level where every member of society can enjoy a good standard of living. This year’s focus is a step in that direction. The theme “Children by choice and not by chance” reminds us of individual responsibility and the power to plan for family and shape the future.
We continue to urge members of the public to be responsible – make a choice to call or visit the nearest health centre and the National Family Planning Board for information and the provision of contraceptives which are provided at no cost.
Family planning is essential to creating a nurturing family with a positive social and economic environment in which parents and children can thrive. This is one of the methods by which the country will make progress towards the Vision 2030 Development Goal to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business. I urge every Jamaica to help us to achieve this goal.
Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, DDS, MP
Minister of Health