This post, by Ellen Starbird, originally appeared on USAID's IMPACT Blog. Ellen Starbird is the Director of USAID's Office of Population and Reproductive Health, and she spoke at the Global Health Knowlede Management Share Fair in April 2013, where she emphasized the need to increase collaboration among health practitioners and to provide access to experts and expertise. In this spirit, on this World Contraception Day, K4Health: shared our new suite of mHealth tools; published a guest contribution about faith-based organizations improving access to contraceptives; reminded our community about the Family Planning Certificate on the Global Health eLearning Center; shared our new suite LA/PM resources; recapped a family planning summit for midwives in Indonesia; and participated in a Twitter chat. What did you do to mark World Contraception Day?
September 26 is World Contraception Day.
For more than 25 years, my professional and personal mission has focused on helping women and couples across the world have the ability to decide whether, when and how many children to have. I strongly believe in the importance of increasing access to voluntary family planning, because the evidence is so clear. Enabling women and men to plan their families, results in multiple health, economic and social benefits for families, communities and nations. On September 26, 2013, World Contraception Day draws attention to the fact that more than 222 million women in the developing world say they want to delay or avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern method of contraception.
A community health worker in Malawi counsels a woman on her family planning options at a gathering place in her community. USAID works in more than 45 countries around the globe to increase access to family planning information and services for all who want them.
Photo credit: Liz Bayer
Everyday an estimated 800 women lose their lives in pregnancy and childbirth. Voluntary family planning could reduce these deaths by 30 percent and save the lives of more than 1.6 million children under five each year by enabling women to delay first pregnancy, space later pregnancies at safe intervals, and stop bearing children when they have reached their desired family size.
USAID works across the globe to enable individuals to access and use affordable, high-quality family planning information, commodities, and services as a means to improve their health and quality of life. For many women, currently available contraceptive methods don’t meet their needs. USAID is one of the few organizations that prioritizes the development of new contraceptives that will be affordable in low resource settings. USAID-supported products on the verge of introduction include:
- The SILCS Diaphragm, a “one size fits most” reusable diaphragm that does not need clinical fitting
- The NES+EE Contraceptive Vaginal Ring, the first long-term hormonal method completely under the woman’s control that lasts for one year
- The Woman’s Condom, designed to be easy to insert, use and remove, making it unique compared to other female condoms