Meet the Demand for Modern Contraception and Reproductive Health

Access to modern contraception and reproductive health is the bedrock of gender equality, economic development, and progress for all.

In order for girls and women to reach their greatest potential, they must have control over their sexual and reproductive lives. They have a right to determine whether and how many children to have, when and with whom to have them. Realizing these rights requires meeting the need for modern contraception, and sexual and reproductive health services. These services include contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, access to safe and legal abortion, infertility services, and maternal healthcare.

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and Strategies?

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  • women in developing countries have an unmet need for modern contraception

  • of new adolescent HIV infections are among girls

  • women died from unsafe abortion complications in 2014

  • If we provide sexual and reproductive health services and meet the need for modern contraception, every dollar spent will yield $120 in benefits

  • If we meet the need for modern contraception and quality care, unintended pregnancy would decline by 70% and unsafe abortions would decline by 74%

Investing in girls and women creates a ripple effect that yields multiple benefits, not only for individual women, but also for families, communities, and countries. Meeting the unmet need for modern contraception has many benefits, including the ability to time births, reduce adolescent pregnancy, and curb unsafe abortion. Ensuring access to reproductive health services is not only the right of every girl and woman, but a necessity to secure their physical, sexual, and psychological wellbeing.

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Solutions in Action

  • HPV Vaccine Scale-Up in Zambia
    Case Study

    HPV Vaccine Scale-Up in Zambia

    HPV Vaccine Scale-Up in Zambia

    More than 290 million women have the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer. More than 85% of cervical cancer cases and deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Yet women in developing countries often lack access to the HPV vaccine and testing services. In 2013, Zambia, a country with high cervical cancer rates, began rolling out a program to administer the HPV vaccine to girls in primary schools across the country. Political support from the First Lady of Zambia and community outreach were used to engage parents and discuss the importance, safety, and effectiveness of the vaccine. Several other African countries, including Cameroon, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa, have since rolled out similar school-based programs.
  • Husband School Teaches the Importance of Contraception in Niger
    Case Study

    Husband School Teaches the Importance of Contraception in Niger

    Husband School Teaches the Importance of Contraception in Niger

    A study commissioned by UNFPA in Niger found that men often determined whether or not their female relatives should have access to reproductive health services. This study inspired the creation of eleven Husband Schools in Niger’s Zinder Region, which aim to educate men on the importance of reproductive health and foster behavior change at the community level. As a result of the relationships formed between health workers and the men attending, the region has witnessed an increase in rates of safe delivery (in two regions they have more than doubled), contraception use and reproductive health services. Furthermore, many men are now attending the deliveries of their children, more deliveries are being assisted by skilled personnel, and more women are attending prenatal and postnatal consultations. Overall, there has been noticeable behavior change regarding contraception and reproductive health throughout the communities involved. Learn More >>

Policy Asks

  • Ensure systems are in place to provide sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and modern contraception across settings, including emergency settings, and strengthen health systems and commodity supply chains.

  • Remove legal and regulatory barriers to SRH and family planning services, information, and supplies for all, including adolescents.

  • Liberalize abortion laws and provide safe abortion and post-abortion care.

  • Integrate SRH services into the provision of primary healthcare services and universal health coverage, including the provision of HPV vaccines.

  • Develop and scale up national policies, curricula, and training to ensure universal Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

  • Tackle cultural norms inhibiting access to modern contraception with the involvement of boys and men, and promote and implement youth friendly services.

  • Incorporate infertility treatment into SRH services.

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