Global forum on gender and reproduction in Kenya – what obligations has Georgia taken on?
A JAMnews correspondent is participating in a Georgian delegation at an international conference of the United Nations Population and Development Fund in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, from November 12-14.
The conference, held with the participation of the governments of Denmark and Kenya, as well as the United Nations Population and Development Fund (UNFPA), is being attended by more than 6,000 representatives from 160 countries of the world.
The main discussions are devoted to the problems of early marriages, low levels of sexual education, inaccessibility of contraceptives, and high mortality during childbirth in many countries of the world.
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For the first time, a forum of this magnitude was held in 1994 in Cairo. Then for the first time the governments of 179 countries recognized reproductive and sexual health as a human right. Then, for the first time, a unified international opinion was expressed on the need to eradicate gender-based violence and the early violent marriages of girls.
25 years since that summit, many problems still remain unresolved. At a conference in Kenya, in particular, the following figures were announced:
•232 million women in the world are unable to avoid an unwanted pregnancy because modern contraceptives are not available to them.
•Every day, around 800 women in the world die during childbirth or pregnancy.
•Every day, about 33,000 girls are forced to marry against their will.
•In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, one out of every three women is the victim of physical or sexual violence at least once in their lives.
The situation in Georgia
For Georgia, many of these problems are very relevant. Research and opinion polls present the following picture:
•Early marriages, abductions of girls are still common in Georgia;
•Frequent harassment of women by husbands – for example, a ban on working, using a mobile phone, wearing certain types of clothing, etc.
•Insufficient state care for pregnant women – only basic assistance is provided
•Despite the progress, the number of deaths among women in childbirth remains very high – 25 deaths per 100,000 births. This is the highest rate in the region. For comparison – in European countries it is 16 per 100,000 births;
•In some regions of Georgia, selective abortion is still practiced when it turns out that the embryo is female.
•In Georgia, the system of continuous professional development is poorly developed. Gynecologists, obstetricians, paramedics and nurses rarely update knowledge. This problem is especially acute in the regions;
•Young people do not receive sufficient sexuality education at school or beyond;
•The timely detection of HIV-infected people remains an acute problem. 40 percent of those infected in Georgia are unaware of their status.
Several governmental and non-governmental organizations in Georgia have committed themselves to significantly improve the situation on many of these points in the coming years.
These commitments are published on the Nairobi Summit website in the Commitments section.
The Ministry of Refugees from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health Care and Social Protection promised that by 2022 there will be a tendency in Georgia to reduce HIV-infected people and that funding will be increased in this direction.
The Office of the Ombudsman of Georgia will continue, and by 2015 will expand monitoring to better identify instances of gender-based violence, as well as to improve the situation in the field of sexual and reproductive health.
The Georgian National Bureau of Statistics has committed to conduct a general population census by 2024, and to publish scenarios of possible population development and population growth forecasts by 2025.
By 2030, the bureau plans to develop a strategy to create a population register to provide high-quality, modern and diverse data on the population of Georgia;
The Tanadgoma Center has announced that it will take responsibility for raising and improving women’s awareness in the field of reproductive health, in matters of unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, as well as addressing issues of violence against women in any form.
The National Library of Georgia, whose director Giorgi Kekelidze is participating at the Nairobi summit, has stated similar obligations.
The Lokomotiv football club is committed to work in the same direction, whose president is also located in Nairobi these days.