World Population DayFirst Lady Sandra Granger on Wednesday called for a comprehensive health curriculum to be implemented in the schools’ education system at the early childhood level.She made the call as she delivered her address to attendees of the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA’s) World Population Day, held under the theme “Family planning is a human right”, at the Cara Lodge hotel in Georgetown.“I am an advocate for teaching [family health] at the nursery level, but it does not mean that our parents must be [excluded]… Parents have a large role to play in how our children are socialised… Let us hope that the Caribbean region will come up with a comprehensive health and family life education curriculum which theyFirst Lady Sandra Granger addressing the gatheringcan implement in all our schools, so that our children will have the much-needed education and the knowledge that they deserve,” the First Lady explained.She added it is hoped that communities and parents are educated on how they can protect their children, and how they should socialise their children to be responsible human beings and productive adults.She also stressed the benefits of accessible family planning as she said, “It has been estimated that if the need for modern contraception was met, there would be 70 percent less unintended pregnancies, 74 percent less unsafe abortions, [and] 25 percent less maternal deaths… There would be an increase in educational opportunities for girls and women, greater participation by women and girls in the labour force, and an increase in their earning potential”.Notwithstanding the importance of including men in the family planning process, the First Lady said, family planning gives women more control over their lives.Liaison Officer at the UNFPA office, Adler Bynoe, delivered the World Population message on behalf of the organisation’s Executive Director, Dr Natalia Kanem. It was pointed out that accessible family planning can only be realised through collaboration.“Family planning is not only a matter of human rights, it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty, and achieving the sustainable development… the UNFPA is fully committed to continuing to support countries’ efforts to uphold the right to plan a family. We are striving to end all unmet needs for voluntary family planning in developing countries by 2030… We cannot do this alone. Governments, parliamentarians, the private sector and civil society must join forces to make it happen,” he said.Minister within the Public Health Ministry (MoPH), Dr Karen Cummings, was also present at the event. She noted that the MoPH will be doing more to educate young people about the importance of family planning.“One of the areas in which it will be placing greater emphasis will be (on) generating more awareness about sexual reproductive health and the importance of family planning… At the Ministry, we are cognisant that effective and informed family planning has multiple health and social benefits… Through various health promotion activities, the Ministry of Public Health is ensuring that…accurate, unbiased information, to assist in preventing unplanned pregnancies as well as empowering young people to make educated decisions about sexual and reproductive health, is disseminated countrywide,” she said.A few panellists and teen mothers from Women Across Differences (WAD) gave their perspective on the importance of family planning as they told their stories of trials and testing.World Population Day is annually observed on July 11. It was introduced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the affirmation of family planning as a human right.