8 Jul 2011

New Zealand government MP wants Solomons aid money directed to family planning

6:42 pm on 8 July 2011

A New Zealand government MP, Dr Jackie Blue, says there's a need for a multi faceted approach to cope with the high rates of child mortality and women dying in childbirth in Solomon Islands.

Dr Blue, who chairs the New Zealand Parliamentarians Group on Population and Development, has been in the Solomons for the past week.

She was there to give an address at a sexual and reproductive health conference but also went on a fact finding tour to see what is being done and how the work can be supported.

The Solomons is predicted to have a dramatic growth in its population and to help counter this she wants to see the New Zealand aid programme direct funding into sexual and reproductive health.

"With a focus on family planning. We [New Zealand] are the lead country for donations for education. I see education as quite critical. The longer you can keep girls at school the more likely they can get careers and be productive and unwanted pregnancy is less likely, so education is key. I would desperately want something happening to the youth that have not been educated one bit, that have dropped out of the school system because of the conflict."