Youth and contraception: two words that when used in combination excite visceral responses throughout the world. The response is even more fraught when we consider long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) for youth. Both intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are LARCs, and the challenges for young women who wish to use them—lack of access, myths and misconceptions, provider bias, and community stigma—are pervasive. We have to understand more about these challenges in order to overcome them.
Los investigadores no tardaron mucho tiempo en descubrir cuál es la amenaza más grave que presenta el virus del Zika: el mayor riesgo de microcefalia y otros defectos congénitos en bebés nacidos de madres infectadas con el virus del Zika durante el embarazo. Al mismo tiempo, la reacción ante la crisis del Zika ha puesto en evidencia problemas mucho mayores de los sistemas de salud en los países afectados, que incluyen la falta de acceso a la información y a los servicios de anticoncepción integrales en algunas comunidades afectadas o amenazadas por el virus del Zika.
Melinda Gates, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, speaking at the Women Deliver 2013 conference. Photo by Rabin Martin, courtesy of Women Deliver.
Data on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) are scarce, especially at a large scale. As Melinda Gates noted at the recent Women Deliver conference in May, “Data underpins everything… If you don’t have data, you don’t know where to make good investments. This is why I’m so excited about the potential of the commitment to close the gender data gap.”
On July 14th, I attended the “Expanding Access to LARCs and Permanent Methods through Task Sharing” event in Washington, DC. Hosted by Population Services International (PSI) through the SIFPO2 Project, the full-day meeting featured a wide range of experts discussing challenges and solutions related to task sharing for implants, IUDs, female sterilization, and vasectomy.
On July 14, I attended the Washington, DC, SIFPO2 Project event “Expanding Access to LARCs and Permanent Methods through Task Sharing.” While HC3 does work to increase youth access to long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs), and task sharing is something certainly on our collective radar as a promising practice in family planning (FP), HC3 hasn’t yet worked specifically on FP task sharing. I took with me to the event, therefore, one open-ended question: What role can social and behavior change communication (SBCC) play in task sharing for better FP outcomes?
Through FP Voices, K4Health, FP2020, and our partners document and share stories from individuals around the world who are passionate about family planning. Many of you have supported our efforts by participating in an interview and portrait session, visiting the FP Voices installation at global conferences, or reading and sharing FP Voices stories. With your help, we have collected more than 200 stories from more than 40 countries.
This week, the Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) movement will turn four. With only four years left to accomplish its ambitious goal of reaching an additional 120 million with access to lifesaving contraceptives, this is a pivotal moment to appreciate progress and acknowledge the challenges that line the path to 2020.
I was excited when I was invited to participate in the Knowledge Management Share Fair, which took place from April 13th to 15th, 2016 in Arusha, Tanzania. I knew the Share Fair would not only enhance my knowledge on the use of different knowledge management techniques and tools, but would also provide me opportunities to build new working relationships with participants from other countries.
Twelve years ago, I sat in a waiting room in a small clinic on the outskirts of Byumba, Rwanda, and listened as one man after another stood up and asked the nurse at the front of the room what methods of family planning they could use, as men. The nurse had just completed a presentation of different family planning methods, and these men were hungry for an option besides condoms, the only male method available at that facility. It was powerful and moving to witness men who wanted to directly engage in family planning, not just as supportive partners, but as users themselves.
In addition to being one of the most effective forms of contraception available, the LNG-IUS has important non-contraceptive benefits. Photo courtesy of FHI 360.
Over the past several months, K4Health has been shining a spotlight on LARCs, which stands for long-acting reversible contraceptives. While LARCs offer multiple advantages—they are highly effective, long-acting and cost-effective, and fertility returns quickly after removal—the term is actually a bit misleading. The acronym implies that a multitude of family planning methods fit within that broad category. But the truth is that that only two general types of methods meet the LARC definition: contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs).