Experts on Tuesday, stated that the use of contraceptives is gaining momentum globally and preventing millions of unsafe abortions and maternal deaths yearly in the world’s poorest countries.
According to a report by advocacy group Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), nearly 40 million more women and girls use modern contraceptives now compared to five years ago across 69 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Experts said family planning is a key tool for reducing poverty since it frees up women to work and leads to smaller families, allowing parents to devote more resources to each child’s health and education.
FP2020 said condoms, birth control pills and other contraceptive methods have prevented 84 million unintended pregnancies, 26 million unsafe abortions and 125,000 maternal deaths in the past year alone.
“What we’re seeing is more rapid change… across all the countries,” said Beth Schlachter, executive director
of FP2020, in a telephone briefing.
FP2020 estimated that more than half of the new contraceptive users were in Asia, where 38 per cent of women of reproductive age use modern birth control.
The FP2020 report said in Africa, the rate of contraceptive use increased to 23.4 per cent from 19.5 per cent from 2012 to 2017.
FP2020, however said, the future of some family planning projects is in doubt since President Donald Trump reinstated a policy this year blocking U.S. funding to overseas groups that perform or provide information about abortion.
International donors vowed to fill the gap and pledged 207 million dollarsat a summit on family planning in July, but the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said it needs an additional 700 million dollars by 2020, without which it will have to cut services.
According to UNFPA, no fewer than 214 million women in developing countries lack access to birth control, resulting in 89 million unintended pregnancies and 48 million abortions a year.
“There may be uncertainties on the horizon, but our community’s dedication to women and girls is stronger than
ever,” said Natalia Kanem, UNFPA’s executive director, in a statement accompanying the report.
The FP2020 initiative started in 2012 with the goal of enabling 120 million more women and girls in developing
countries to use modern contraceptives by the year 2020.