Advocating for LA/PMs helps women achieve reproductive goals
Ensuring access to information and affordable quality services for a wide range of contraceptive methods within family planning and reproductive health programs is imperative for women and men to achieve their reproductive intentions, including the choice to limit future births. Unfortunately, more than 200 million women in the developing world want to prevent pregnancy but are not using modern contraception due to significant barriers to making informed choices and accessing the contraceptive method that best meets their needs.
In May 2012, the Population Council, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC) hosted a meeting to discuss opportunities to accelerate progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal access to reproductive health services by increasing access to highly effective, long-acting and reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods. Participants stated in a report that “women are qualified to make informed choices about the contraceptive that best meets their needs, if access is provided, correct information is available, and quality of care is ensured.” The report also mentioned some potential barriers to the use of contraceptives and in particular LA/PMs, including limited options and inconsistent stock in public and private health facilities, and the lack of trained health care providers in counseling, inserting, and removing long-acting methods and other services necessary for women to achieve reproductive goals.
To encourage further education on this topic, the USAID Global Health eLearning Center has launched a new eLearning course: LA/PMs: a Smart FP/RH Program Investment. Long-acting and permanent methods (LA/PMs), such as the intrauterine device (IUD), the hormonal implant, female sterilization, and vasectomy, have a central role to play in meeting the family planning needs of individuals and couples safely, conveniently, and effectively. Use of LA/PMs results in substantial contributions to national health and development goals, and works toward achieving the fifth MDG – Reduce Maternal Mortality.
The purpose of this eLearning course is to present the rationale for making LA/PMs more widely available in the contraceptive method mix of national FP programs and identifies key challenges as well as proven and promising programs. The course presents a combination of technical information, leadership and training strategies, and holistic programming experiences from the field, to enable learners to understand:
- Why LA/PMs are vital to address unmet need, and
- How the gap between intentions and practice could be closed by increasing people’s awareness of LA/PMs.
By the end of this course, learners will have a solid understanding of LA/PMs, the rationale for investing in resources to make these methods more widely available, and the benefits LA/PMs can provide to both clients and health systems. This course will contribute to continuing education and serve as a stimulus to learners’ thinking on how to address family planning and reproductive health challenges in the field.