Evidence to Action for Strengthened Fam­ily Planning and Reproductive Health Services for Women and Girls: Our Impact

 {Photo credit: MSH staff}In Cameroon, the modern contraceptive prevalence for all women remains low at 16.1 percent.Photo credit: MSH staff

Postpartum family planning (FP) is part of a scalable, comprehensive maternal, newborn and child health approach to reaching women with critical, life-saving information and services. Research demonstrates that more than 90 percent of women during their first year postpartum either want to delay the next pregnancy for at least two years or avoid future pregnancies all together. Preventing unintended pregnancies is an important strategy for reducing maternal mortality; by preventing pregnancies, exposure to obstetric risk is also reduced.

 {Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu}Nigeria.Photo credit: Gwenn Dubourthoumieu

Despite Nigeria’s growing economy and significant cadre of well-trained health providers, Nigerian mothers and their newborns continue to die during and directly after childbirth at an alarming rate. According to a 2013 Demographic and Health Survey, Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world—576 deaths for every 100,000 live births—and 37 out of every 1,000 babies die as newborns.

  {Photo credit: Sara A. Holtz, Courtesy of Photoshare.}A billboard in Guinea promotes injectable contraceptives: "Depo-Provera: Efficacious, Reversible, Discrete. Contraceptive with a long duration."Photo credit: Sara A. Holtz, Courtesy of Photoshare.

Family planning is an inherent part of quality postabortion care services—allowing women to choose a contraceptive method that best meets their needs helps prevent unintended pregnancies and repeat abortions, and increases their choices for future planning. Yet, despite the evidence that family planning is a crucial part of successful postabortion care services, in many settings, these services are not yet integrated.

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