In the report, the Federal Council highlights the importance of sexual and reproductive health for the future of global development and describes Switzerland's efforts in this area. Since the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, a paradigm shift has occurred. Earlier programmes emphasised government-imposed family planning and the distribution of contraceptives to try to influence population dynamics in different countries: an approach that turned out to be problematic and ineffective. Effective, targeted measures to tackle poverty, as well as gender equality and women's education and empowerment actually have a far more positive influence on global demographic development.
Switzerland takes action based on this broad understanding through its international cooperation, thereby making a contribution to controlling population growth. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC is active in the area of sexual and reproductive health specifically through its health programmes. Sexual and reproductive health includes preventive health care, access to health care including obstetrics, and the basic conditions to allow people to decide whether they want to have children, and if so, when and how many. For example, the SDC has been supporting the Moldovan health-care system for over nine years to help it improve and modernise perinatal care. This support has made it possible to bring 37 Moldovan maternity clinics up to current technical standards, train personnel in the use of new equipment and techniques and set up monitoring for quality and maintenance.
Reproductive health and freedom of choice in this area for women, men and young people are human rights and contribute to gender equality.
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