Family planning remains a big challenge
REDUCING the vast unmet need for family planning remains a major challenge in Namibia.
That’s what Executive Director of Health and Social Services Ben Nangombe said during the commemoration of World Contraception Day at the University of Namibia’s Neudamm campus last week.
World Contraception Day aims to promote contraceptive awareness and empower young people to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health.
Nangombe said that although one in two women aged 15 to 49 uses a method of contraception, the country is still not meeting the needs of many women.
“This unmet need is generally greatest among women in the poorest 20% of households. Without access to contraception, poor women, especially those who are less educated and live in rural areas, are at increased risk of unwanted pregnancy, ”he said.
Nangome said the impact of family planning goes beyond health, adding that it is multisectoral and intergenerational.
“It is well established that improving children’s health and nutrition has the potential to positively influence school performance and behavior. In turn, education is a key determinant of uptake and consistency of family planning services, ”he said.
The Namibian Family Planning Association (Nappa) attributes existing challenges to insufficient and unavailable services in many areas.
Nappa is one of the supporting partners helping the government to implement its national development priorities set out in local development plans, such as NDP5 and the Harambee Prosperity Plan.
The plan calls for inclusive health services, including full access to family planning services as a right of women and girls, which is crucial for healthy lives.
Nappa spokesperson Louise Stephanus said the lack of public awareness of different contraceptive methods, coupled with a lack of service delivery, leads to the persistence of social constraints in many areas.
“The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought new challenges, as the latest staggering figures for teenage pregnancies across the country have doubled for the 2020 academic year, registering around 3,627 cases. It’s a sign that more needs to be done, especially at this time, ”she said.
Loide Amkongo, deputy representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said ensuring access to affordable, quality contraceptives and sexual and reproductive health services is a smart economic investment.
“This is even more critical in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which puts women and adolescent girls at increased direct and indirect risk of unwanted and unbearable pregnancy due to blockages, service interruptions, service disruptions. stock, financial hardship and an increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence, ”she said.
Contraception has prevented 188 million unintended pregnancies globally, according to UNFPA, preventing 112 million abortions, 1.1 million fewer neonatal deaths and 150,000 fewer maternal deaths. less.
The agency says more than 41% of the 208 million pregnancies that occur each year are unplanned.
Nearly half of these unplanned pregnancies end in abortion, according to the United Nations agency.
UNFPA further estimates that 33 million unintended pregnancies are the result of contraceptive failure or improper use.
It also estimates that up to 16 million adolescent girls, aged 15 to 19, give birth each year, and says pregnancy-related deaths are the leading cause of death among young women.