The UN Conference on Population and Development returns to Nairobi on progress in this area.
The United Nations Population and Development Fund conference is being held until 14 November 2019 in Kenya. It takes stock of advances in family planning in the poorest countries of the world.
According to the British Foundation Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), one-third of women and girls of reproductive age (in poor countries) use modern contraceptives (condoms, pills, implants). This statistical survey was conducted in the 69 poorest countries in the world, of which 41 are in Africa, 21 in Asia and Oceania, 4 in Latin America and the Caribbean and 3 in the Middle East. It indicates that 53 million more women have had access to contraception since 2012. A figure a little disappointing since 120 million were expected by 2020.
The average increase in these 69 countries is only 2% in 8 years, but some regions such as East Africa and Southern Africa reach 7%. “It is here in Africa that the use of modern contraceptives is increasing the most”Beth Schlachter, director of FP2020, told a news conference in Nairobi. It must be said that, from afar, the African continent is experiencing a catch-up phenomenon.
Despite this progress, it is estimated that 21% of women in sub-Saharan Africa who wish to avoid pregnancy do not use modern contraceptives. Beth Schlachter hailed from AFP “the increasing commitment of governments to integrate family planning into health policies”, but it is difficult to overcome cultural and religious barriers, particularly in countries like Niger or Mali, or Chad. There, the decline in infant mortality has not yet resulted in a sharp decline in fertility. It must be said that in the countryside, you still need to work in the fields.
“In many places, even if you solve problems such as financing or supply chains, if you do not work with communities and women to understand what contraception is, there will be a barrier“, says Beth Schlachter.
Access to modern contraceptives is usually accompanied by a decline in maternal mortality. Recall that 750 women die every day of pregnancy-related complications on the African continent. In Niger alone, one in seven women dies compared to one in 45,000 in Europe.
Access to family planning also facilitates the schooling of children and an improvement in the standard of living of families. “Family planning is a basic right”says Benoît Kalasa, representative of the United Nations Population Fund, referring to the health dangers of pregnancies that are too close together or at an early age. Family planning “gives women the means to plan their lives They can stay in school by avoiding unplanned pregnancies, they can space pregnancies to participate in economic activities“, he added.