Big demand for reproductive health options met with inadequate offerings and services
There are approximately 2,500 reproductive health centers in various governorates nationwide that are supported by the government. Comparative to private sector healthcare, these services are provided for free or heavily subsidized by the state making them easier to access for the majority of the population.
According to a 2003 demographics survey, the number of those requesting contraception and birth control in Yemen has increased to over 30 percent of the population. Other studies estimate higher numbers closer to 50 percent. The drastic increase in people interested in family planning and birth control is indicative of larger changes in the economics of family size, an increase in urbanism and higher levels of education.
Abdullah Al-Kamil, the manager of the reproductive health program at the United Nations Population Fund, said the spread of birth control has reached 29 percent of the population while modern family planning services are available to 21 percent. This remains significantly lower than most other countries.
“It is important to note that a major factor influencing this is that reproductive healthcare and contraception is chiefly available in urban areas, however 70 percent of Yemen’s population still resides in the rural areas,” he said.
Al-Kamil added that there is still a misconception in society about family planning and birth control. Many continue to focus on the disadvantages of modern family planning tools over the advantages, hindering the spread of effective family planning techniques.
“The side effects could make the female patients worry about using birth control. This happens due to a lack of appropriate medical instruction in health centers and a lack of choice regarding available options,” he said.
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