VIENTIANE, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government aims to increase the use of modern contraceptives to 65 percent of the population by 2020, according to Deputy General Director of the Ministry of Health Kaysone Chounlamany.
"The maternal mortality in Laos still remains higher than in other Southeast Asian Nations, so the government has invested in family planning, which has been able to reduce the maternal mortality to 30 percent," the Lao News Agency (KPL) quoted Kaysone as saying Thursday at the celebration of the World Population Day which falls on July 11.
In Laos, the adolescent birth rate is 76 live births per 1,000 girls in the 15-19 age group, which is the highest among ASEAN countries. Adolescent contraceptive use is very low, at 22.3 percent, said the report.
"Family Planning provides choice to individuals and families, ensuring governments' work on saving mothers and babies' lives toward sustainable development goals," Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Khamlien Pholsena said on the same occasion.
Family planning contributes to the quality of life and reduces maternal mortality when couples can choose how many children they would like to have, he said.
"Greater access to family planning will reduce the number of adolescent pregnancies, allowing young women to maintain good physical health, remain in school to strengthen the foundation for their future as well as contribute to the economy of their families and the nation," said Khamlien.