World Contraception Day: Building Universal Acces to Family Planning

We are marking World Contraception Day today, an annual reminder of commitments made by the global community to expand access to information and methods of family planning for women and couples. The theme of this year’s campaign, “Your Future, Your Choice, Your Contraception,” focuses on the need to empower young people to take control of their reproductive health and their futures.

PSI’s 40 year, on-the-ground experience in the developing world has taught us the importance of reaching people where they are, at prices they can afford. As a result, PSI works to improve access to and availability of high quality family planning options in both the private and public sectors.

Around the world, more than 215 million women and girls do not have access to desired contraception options. Among this group are 14-16 million girls aged 15-19 who give birth each year, putting them at risk of health complications and decreasing the likelihood that they will finish school. In India alone, adolescent pregnancy siphons away an estimated $100 billion of lost potential income– equal to nearly two decades worth of global humanitarian assistance.

There is a critical need for programs that expand access to family planning options, giving youth, women and couples the power to choose the timing and spacing of their pregnancies.

One way we do this is by developing social franchises which create a network of private health care providers that deliver family planning services in accordance with set quality standards under a common brand. Today, through these social franchising networks and parallel family planning programs, PSI offers comprehensive contraception options to women, men, and couples on a global scale.

Another ways is through partnerships with donors, foundations, governments, civil society organizations and the private sector. PSI partners with Bayer to procure contraceptives for distribution to underserved population segments in developing countries. The partnership facilitates the sharing of information related to effectively and ethically marketing pharmaceutical products that are desperately needed by PSI’s target audience. This collaborative relationship helps Bayer to better understand the global market place and PSI to meet the needs of the people they serve.

This July, the British government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-hosted the international London Summit on Family Planning, which brought a renewed sense of urgency to this issue. At the Summit, donors and representatives from both developed and developing countries pledged a total of $4.3 billion to scale up family planning programs.

PSI is committed to the goals set forward by the London Summit. Last year, our programs  provided more than 900,000 long-acting reversible contraceptives (IUDs & Implants) and distributed more than 1.3 billion male and female condoms. We estimate that our efforts helped to avert 13,000 maternal deaths. Maternal mortality is down by half from 1990, but an estimated 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth every day. We are committed to realizing a world where no mother has to unnecessarily die.

If you want to support PSIs efforts to ensure that women have access to family planning services please go here to donate today.