Friday, July 11, 2008

Vutakaka Hosts World Population Day

In 1968, World leaders proclaimed that every individual has the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. But since then, lack of access to information, and social and religious pressures have prevented the realization of this right for hundreds of millions of women. World Population Day exists to recognize, reaffirm, and celebrate the right to plan your family. On this day each year, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) offices throughout the world enlist the help of local organizations to promote awareness of family planning. This year the East African Center’s (EAC) Vutakaka school grounds in Takaungu was chosen as the site for the World Population Day celebration.

Family planning is a major issue in Takaungu and the surrounding area. Religious and traditional beliefs put pressure on families to grow large, creating strains on the overall health and educational and economic opportunities for the family. The event was attended by hundreds of residents from the community, local chiefs, and district officers.

Vutakaka staff and volunteers, with administrative help from Germany-based health group DSW, the Maria Stopes organization, and the Takaungu public dispensary staff, assisted women seeking family planning counseling. Another 445 individuals were treated for general health issues, and 26 people took part in Voluntary Counseling and Testing for HIV/AIDS (VCT). UNFPA also provided free anti-malaria drugs, anti-biotics, and contraceptives which were administered throughout the day. Acrobats, actors, dancers, and musicians also performed to entertain and educate the crowd.

The EAC is honored to have been chosen for this event and grateful to help promote the right to family planning and health in Takaungu! For more photos, visit the World Population Day photo album. Learn more about UNFPA and World Population Day.

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