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Self-Care Interventions For Family Planning

The International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP), held yearly, brings together family planning experts to assess the state of family planning around the globe and share best practices. The latest conference was held in Pattaya City, Thailand from 14-17 November 2022. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Family Planning is one of the ten great public achievements of the twentieth century, on par with accomplishments such as vaccination and advances in motor vehicle safety (CDC, 1999). The ability of individuals to determine their family size and the timing and spacing of their children has resulted in significant improvements in health, social, and economic well-being (IOM, 1995).


Contraceptives prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions and lowers maternal mortality rates which are often a result of childbirth complications. If all women in developing nations with an unmet need for contraceptives were able to utilize modern methods, then maternal deaths would be reduced by about a quarter according to recent estimates by UNFPA partners. 


Sensitization on access to modern contraception among adolescent girls is a crucial starting point for improved health and well-being, given the diverse demographic dividends in states. Integrating family planning and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is key in enhancing the development agenda of countries in the periphery and semi-periphery areas given the population of youth and adolescents in the world.


Increasing information on modern contraception is also essential for improving maternal and newborn health globally. Since complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the main reasons behind the deaths of adolescent girls aged 15-19 years.


The UNFPA works to improve the access to reproductive health services among people, including marginalized young people. In Malawi for instance, health workers are receiving training on providing sensitive and accurate information and services tailored to adolescents.


Access to family planning information is central to achieving the fourth sustainable development goal, Gender Equality. When women and couples are entirely empowered with effective life skills and are able to understand the demographic dividends, then young girls and adolescents will be able to complete their education and there will be a massive reduction in poverty levels. Women’s autonomy in their households will increase and earnings will improve as well. Hence, leading to a strengthened economic status for their families. 


Women and girls globally face barriers to accessing contraceptives. The UN Population Division’s estimates show that in 2020, some 257 million women in developing countries wanted to prevent or delay pregnancy but were not using modern, reliable forms of contraception. Common reasons why women do not use reliable, modern contraceptives include issues such as difficulty in accessing healthcare facilities, stock-outs within the facility and social barriers such as opposition by male counterparts or families. Lack of knowledge also plays a vital role, with young girls and women not knowing where to access these contraceptives.


Women in informal settlements often have limited access to family planning information and services. Groups such as adolescents, unmarried people, sex workers and people living with HIV, also face additional barriers to family planning. 


 


This can further lead to higher rates of unintended pregnancies, increased risks of HIV and other STIs, limited choice of contraceptive methods, and higher levels of unmet need for family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services.


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