Contraceptive use high in HK
SPENDING on family planning services and the use of contraception in Hong Kong are among the highest in the world, according to a survey.
The study, released by a group called Population Action International yesterday to coincide with the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (See Page 11), showed that Hong Kong had the second highest percentage of couples using contraception.
Top of the contraceptive users was China, which enforces a one-child policy, with 83 per cent of couples using contraception, followed by 81 per cent in Hong Kong.
The territory, which is not represented at the Cairo conference, was also one of only six countries surveyed which spent more than US$2 (HK$15.44) per capita per year on family planning.
Spending of US$2.35 per capita put Hong Kong in first place in the East and Southeast Asia region ahead of Taiwan at US$2.20, and in fourth position overall behind Costa Rica, Jamaica and Mauritius.
According to the survey, China spends only US$1.15 per capita on family planning, in spite of having the highest percentage of users.
A spokesman for the Health and Welfare Branch said: 'Unlike in many less developed countries, many women in Hong Kong prefer to receive advice on family planning from their own physician or gynaecologist in the private sector.' The survey showed that the Hong Kong Government contributed only 45 US cents to the per capita total.
The Health and Welfare Branch spokesman said present expenditure on family planning was sufficient to cope with demand.
Family planning services are provided at the Department of Health's maternal and child health centres, by the Family Planning Association and by private doctors.
The survey also showed that the average number of children per woman in Hong Kong was the lowest of the countries surveyed at 1.4, with Laos the highest in East and Southeast Asia at 6.1 and Rwanda the highest overall at 8.5.
Laos had the lowest percentage of couples using contraceptives in East and Southeast Asia at an estimated 18 per cent, while the lowest overall was in Angola at just two per cent.