Malaysia's free birth control plan

PHOTO: Malaysia's free birth control plan

KUALA LUMPUR - The poor and the middle-income group can get free or discounted contraceptives next year.

"A loyalty programme will be introduced to provide contraceptives to the poor and middle-income families for free or at a discounted rate.

"We are also reviewing the national family planning policy, especially the suitability of providing contraceptives to sexually-active unmarried young persons," National Population and Family Development Board chairman Tan Sri Napsiah Omar said in her speech at the launch of the report on The State of World Population 2011: People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion at Wisma United Nations here yesterday.

Napsiah also said Malaysia's population stood at 28.3 million last year compared with 23.3 million in 2000.

"According to United Nations projections, Malaysia's population is expected to increase to 32.02 million by 2020 and 39.66 million by 2050," she added.

In his opening remarks, UN resident coordinator Kamal Malhotra said there was a need to place the necessary regulations and policies to achieve an increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate among the global population.

This issue was highlighted in the 7 Billion Actions campaign, which sought to face challenges in a world of seven billion people.

"Malaysia has shown impressive results in some areas, especially absolute poverty reduction, primary and secondary education and physical infrastructure development over the last half century," he added.

Malhotra said some 215 million women in developing countries lack access to effective family planning.

"Working to ensure that every child is wanted and every childbirth is safe will lead to smaller and stronger families and more opportunities for women," he added.