Africa: World Contraception Day 2023 – A Call to Liberate Women’s Bodies through Equitable Health Leadership

Nearly a third of all women in developing countries begin childbearing at age 19 and younger, and nearly half of first births to adolescents are to children, or girls aged 17 and younger, UNFPA research shows.

Mbuto Machili / UNFPA Mozambique

Access to birth control, which empowers women with the agency to decide if, when, and how many children to bear, is a fundamental human right.

While increased use of contraception among women in low- and lower-middle-income countries has successfully prevented over 141 million  unintended pregnancies, curbed 29 million  unsafe abortions, and averted nearly 150,000  maternal deaths, only 1 in 4  women in these developing nations can realize their desired fertility intentions. This means that an unacceptably large number of women are still having more children than they want - with dire consequences.


Abortion: Women more at risk of death in fragile and conflict-affected settings

5 September 2023
Médecins Sans Frontières

Complications following unsafe abortions are up to seven times more severe in fragile or conflict-affected settings: these are the findings of one of the very first studies on the subject, carried out in two referral hospitals in Bangui in the Central African Republic and Jigawa State in northern Nigeria. Behind the statistics, real stories of real women – and a universal vulnerability.

“I was distraught. I had drunk the traditional medicine. Before that, someone had shown me how to insert a piece of iron into my vagina... It was a piece of iron like this [she shows the interviewer the size],” says Rasha*, a 32-year-old woman admitted to Bangui referral hospital with potentially life-threatening abortion-related complications.


UNFPA Deploys U-Plan, a Family Planning WhatsApp Chatbot Revolutionizing Reproductive Health Education

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has deployed an applaudable innovation called U-Plan

by Joan Aimuengheuwa 
August 23, 2023

The WhatsApp chatbot is designed to provide accurate and adequate information on contraception as well as contraceptive methods to AYP, PWD and all Women of Reproductive Age. This will be done in the comfort of their homes, in utmost confidentiality, with linkages provided to the Service Delivery Points.

In an interview with an officer from UNFPA, part of the inspiration that birthed U-Plan was revealed as an effort to mitigate challenges young people encounter in accessing contraceptives due to social and cultural beliefs.


Women’s charities sound alarm as aid cuts hit equality spending

Millions of women and girls in poorer nations could be put at risk of unsafe abortion, domestic violence or teen pregnancy, experts say.

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Aug. 22, 2023

Aid cuts could put more women and girls at risk of domestic violence, unsafe abortions and dropping out of school as rich nations’ spending to fight gender inequality stagnates for the first time in a decade, charities and policy experts say.

Countries such as Britain, the Netherlands and Japan pledged less money to tackle gender violence in 2020/21, and committed a smaller share of total aid to gender equality programmes for the first time since 2010, a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows.


Sweden invests $42 million to improve sexual and reproductive health in East and Southern Africa

Sources: Govt. Sweden, UNFPA, UNICEF
22 Jun 2023 

PRETORIA, South Africa -- Sweden today announced a further investment of $42 million for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in an effort to transform the lives of millions of people in East and Southern Africa. The funding is being made available through Sweden's Strategy for SRHR in Africa 2022-2026.

The investment will bolster existing efforts by four United Nations agencies -- UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO -- to support countries and regional entities in East and Southern Africa to reduce maternal mortality including from unsafe abortion, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), unmet need for contraceptives, and gender-based violence (GBV). The investment brings to $99 million the total amount committed by Sweden since 2018.


Pakistan – Rubab For Multi-faceted Strategy To Improve Young Mothers’ Reproductive Health

Muhammad Irfan 
Published May 23, 2023

QUETTA, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News): Parliamentary Secretary Law Dr. Rubaba Khan Buledi Tuesday emphasized the need for adopting comprehensive and multi-faceted strategies to improve reproductive healthcare and the well-being of young mothers and their families.

She expressed the views while addressing at Provincial Consultative Workshop Voluntary National Survey International Conference on Population and Development organized jointly by UNFPA and the Ministry of Planning and Development here.


In most countries, women can be criminally charged for illegal abortions: UN Report

Ambika Pandit / TNN
Apr 24, 2023

NEW DELHI: Even as induced abortion is legal in most parts of the world, UNFPA’s latest World Population Report points out that it is estimated that in 28% of the countries where abortion is legal, women require consent from their spouse to go ahead.

Judicial consent is required in nearly 36% of these countries if the girl seeking abortion is a minor.  In nearly 63% of countries, women can be criminally charged for going through illegal abortion, says the report highlighting that the legal restrictions raise the risk of unsafe abortions. The report carries data from 96 countries.


Indian women cautious about Supreme Court’s ‘historic’ abortion ruling

Abortion rights have been extended to unmarried women, but how will this affect women’s lives in reality?

Deepa Parent
12 October 2022

Women who have had abortions in India fear the extension of abortion rights “will do nothing to change the rot in our society”.  They say class inequality and prejudice against women still present the biggest barriers to accessing equal reproductive rights in the country.

Their stark warnings contrast with the hopeful note struck by many Indian women and reproductive rights activists, who have called the Supreme Court’s ruling on 29 September “historic” and “progressive”.


Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for youth and adolescents in Myanmar through innovation amid COVID-19 pandemic and political crisis

7 Sep 2022 

YANGON, Myanmar— “There is social stigma existing in our community to speak about sexual and reproductive health especially concerning adolescents and youth. People are too shy to talk about it. Since we have grown up under this shadow, we don’t even know that young people have the right to access sexual and reproductive health information,” said Thura, 15, a local youth from Yangon.

Young people in Myanmar face different social and cultural barriers to get right information about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Without having access to sexual and reproductive health information including family planning, young people tend to experience consequences such as unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion, leading to other life-threatening complications. According to 2014 Myanmar Population and Housing Census, the fertility rate of females aged 15-19 was 33 births per 1,000 women. Comparing to urban areas, the teenage fertility is higher in rural areas of states and regions. The data highlights the needs to enhance protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and young people in remote places and in areas undergoing humanitarian crisis.


Uganda – We need measures to curb unsafe abortion

Thursday, August 18, 2022
Sauni Samantha Nsiimenta

What you need to know:
Also concerted efforts are needed to reduce the costs associated with post
abortion care

August 12 is commemorated as the International Youth Day, to reflect on the
challenges youth face. In Uganda, one of the biggest challenges that youth,
especially young girls, experience is early pregnancies and unsafe abortion.