Family planning versus contraception: what’s in a name?
By Marleen Temmerman, Dr María Isabel Rodríguez and Dr Lale Say
The 20-year anniversary of the 1994 International Conference of Population Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and the upcoming 15-year anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals provide an opportunity to think about the global development agenda, including progress made and any remaining challenges. Although development has been referred to as the best contraceptive, the reverse link is neglected-ie, that sexual and reproductive rights and health facilitate development.1
Reproductive and sexual health is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. Contraceptive choice is essential to promote the health of individuals and enable development. Contraception has direct health benefits, such as prevention of unintended pregnancy and, subsequently, decreased maternal mortality and morbidity. Women with unintended pregnancies that are continued to term are more likely to receive inadequate or delayed prenatal care and have poorer health outcomes, such as low infant birthweight, infant mortality, and maternal mortality and morbidity, than have those with planned pregnancies.2-6 These risks of unintended pregnancy are increased for adolescents and girls.7, 8 Adolescents are at increased risk of medical complications with pregnancy, and are often forced to make compromises in education and employment, which can lead to poverty and low educational attainment.7,9-11
This information is not new. A large amount of the published work supports the fundamental role that sexual and reproductive health information and services have in the promotion of health, attainment of human rights, and sustainable development. However, poor sexual and reproductive health is a major component of global morbidity and mortality, and disturbing inequities exist in the burden of disability.12 Nearly 20 years after ICPD and 15 years after the Millennium Development Goals, the world lags far behind its objective of universal access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. A radical shift is needed to accelerate progress.
To read the full op-ed, please click here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70177-3/fulltext
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