News

In pursuit of rights and choices for all in Seychelles

16 May 2019
Choice not chance: Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, with a young mum who is willing to adopt a modern contraceptive method to plan and space her births. Photo: UNFPA Madagascar/Hantanirina Andremanisa

The celebration of UNFPA’s 50th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is an opportunity to fulfill the visionary agenda for sexual and reproductive health and rights, and to reach those who have been left behind. 

For the Small Island Developing States in the Indian Ocean region, particularly the Seychelles, the launch of UNFPA’s flagship State of World Population (SWOP) report was an opportunity to highlight that despite development in these countries, present and emerging issues remain to be resolved, and there is unfinished business to be achieved. 

The SWOP report was launched in the Seychelles in the presence of Dr. Julitta Onabanjo, UNFPA Regional Director for East and Southern Africa, the Designated Minister, Macsuzy Mondon, and representatives of the UN System for Mauritius and Seychelles.

It signalled revitalization of the cooperation between UNFPA and the Governments of Seychelles, as well as UNFPA’s renewed commitment to the Small Island Developing States in the Indian Ocean region.

“Make it happen!”

“Our task is not complete despite the achievements. That's why Seychelles remains committed to improve access to health services and to reach out to all groups of society,” said Designated Minister, Macsuzy Mondon.

A moving poem from the youth reminded the audience of the importance of achieving young people’s potential through inclusive collaboration with the future generation:

“So let us reach out and lock our hands for the next 25 years of promise
Together, let us commit ourselves to the world and the Africa we want.”

“The report helps us to understand the journey to rights and choices for all, particularly for women and young people,” Dr. Onabanjo said. “We have to take advantage of current opportunities that the world has, to solve our old and emerging problems.”

“Make the right choice an easy choice”

Dr. Onabanjo congratulated Seychelles for its efforts towards and progress made in improving the quality of health care in general, and maternal health in particular, as well as strides made in the fight against climate change, and the strong leadership of the country on the blue economy.

Seychelles has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates, at 38 deaths per 100,000 live births. Yet, the country has one of the highest rates of gender-based violence. An estimated 50 per cent of women are survivors of GBV, with a significant occurrence of intimate partner violence.

Despite Seychelles' remarkable economic progress, many challenges remain, particularly for young people who face problems related to drug and alcohol abuse, and teenage pregnancy.