Today, an estimated 220 million women worldwide want to avoid pregnancy and plan their families but lack access to modern contraception. Family planning does more than help women and couples determine the size of their families: It safeguards individual health and rights, preserves natural resources, and can improve economic outcomes for families and communities. Family planning also saves lives—up to one-third of all maternal deaths and illnesses could be prevented if women had access to contraception.
The need for quality family planning services is all the more urgent today because more than 1.2 billion young people ages 15 to 24 are entering their reproductive years, comprising about 18% of the world’s population—the largest adolescent contingent in human history. Eighty-eight percent of these young people live in the developing world.
EngenderHealth in Action
Across the globe, EngenderHealth has proven that even in resource-poor settings, family planning services can be safe, effective, and affordable. EngenderHealth partners with governments, national health systems, community organizations, policymakers, and health care providers to:
- Improve the safety, efficacy, and quality of family planning services
- Increase contraceptive options
- Ensure that women are able to make informed choices
- Strengthen and expand family planning services by making available additional reproductive health services that women and their families need, including HIV and AIDS services, and antenatal and obstetric care
- Ensure continuing financial and social investment in family planning
Recognizing the need for accountability systems to be in place to ensure that family planning programs are voluntary and protect and fulfill women’s rights, EngenderHealth is taking a lead role in outlining steps needed to integrate human rights into family planning programming. With the goal of ensuring that family planning programs are woman-centered and rights-focused, EngenderHealth’s work strives to operationalize human rights at the policy, service delivery, and community levels.
Long-acting and permanent methods of contraception, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, female sterilization, and vasectomy, are safe, convenient, and cost-effective—yet, they are highly underutilized and are often the most difficult to obtain. EngenderHealth works to change this by expanding access to new contraceptive technologies in low-resource areas, specifically ensuring that long-acting and permanent contraceptive methods are included in the range of options available to women and their families.