Nigeria: #ThePowerOfOptions – Improving Maternal Health Through Increased Access to Contraception

Nigeria Health Watch (Abuja)
By Onyedikachi Ewe

Contraceptive choices are crucial in empowering women and couples to take control of their reproductive health. In addition to protecting women and girls from unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions, contraceptive use promotes the overall well-being of the mother, child, and family. However, despite awareness of family planning, there is still a high unmet need at 48% for sexually active unmarried women and 19% for married women. In addition, the modern contraceptive prevalence rate is still low at 12% among married women (15-49 years) which is at a negative variance with the national target of 27% by the year 2024.

The Power of Options in improving the quality of a woman's life cannot be overemphasised. It resonates with the wide range of contraceptive choices that should be made available to women and girls to help them make an informed choice. The power and autonomy of a woman to have children when she desires, at what interval and the number exemplifies gender equality.


Innovative names for empowering reproductive health

FIGO celebrates World Contraception Day 2023 announcing the winners of the Contraception Reimagined Challenge

26 September 2023
Hannah Agnew, FIGO Senior Communications and Marketing Coordinator

Led by FIGO's Committee on Contraception, the Contraception Reimagined Challenge invited visionary minds from FIGO's membership societies to reimagine the language used in conversations about contraception. 

After careful consideration of all the submissions received, the selection committee are delighted to announce that the winning entries are: 


World Contraception Day 2023: History, Significance, Celebration, Global Impact and Challenges

Nibandh Vinod,
SEPTEMBER 26, 2023

World Contraception Day (WCD) is an annual event observed on September 26. It was first established in 2007 by a coalition of international organizations and advocacy groups, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the United Nations Foundation, and the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health. The primary aim of World Contraception Day is to raise awareness about contraception, promote safe and accessible family planning methods, and advocate for reproductive health and rights worldwide. The day highlights the importance of contraceptive options in achieving broader societal goals related to health, gender equality, and sustainable development.

World Contraception Day History
World Contraception Day was created to address the global need for comprehensive education and access to contraception. Its origins are rooted in the understanding that family planning and contraception play crucial roles in women’s health, gender equality, and population control.


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.


Australia – Need for Diverse Contraception Options for Informed Decisions

25 Sept 2023
Sustainable Population Australia

In the lead-up to World Contraception Day (WCD) on 26 September, Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has called for potentially fertile people everywhere to have information about, and access to, a range of contraceptive options so that they can make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.

Contraceptive methods include hormonal options like birth control pills, patches, and injections; barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms; and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants.


Nepal – Contraceptives shortage looms

Government cites lack of funds. Fears of unsafe abortions, increase in maternal deaths.

Arjun Poudel
September 25, 2023

Health facilities nationwide could soon run out of contraceptives such as condoms, pills, implants and emergency pills as the Ministry of Health and Population lacks funds to procure them.

Officials blamed the reduction in the health budget as the main reason for their inability to purchase essential contraceptives to be distributed from health care facilities. A possible shortage of the items will eventually cause multiple problems including a rise in unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths.


Teen Pregnancy Plateaued, Abortion Through the Roof: UK Sexual Health in 2023

Population Matters
Dr. Rebecca Foljambe (edited transcript of presentation at Population Matters’ World Population Day webinar on education)

Where it all started for me was that I was a jobbing GP in the Midlands. One day a week I went over to the school across the road. They have well over 3000 children across this big academy and they presented me with a list of girls, that they deemed to be ‘at risk’ – there were well over 200 girls on that list.

We took seven or eight girls for seven or eight weeks at a time, giving them the information and, we hoped, some more confidence in caring for themselves in terms of their relationships and sexual health.  The sessions worked around the topics of STIs, sexual health, body health, wellbeing, gender-based violence and healthy relationships. Over the space of a couple of years, we worked with over 100 girls, and it was incredibly rewarding.


Scotland – Doctors warn about social media link to abortion rise

Sept 5, 2023
By Katie McEvinney, BBC Scotland news

Misinformation about contraception on social media may be contributing to Scotland's record high abortion figures, doctors have told the BBC.

The number of terminations carried out in Scotland rose by almost a fifth between 2021 and 2022. For the first time in 14 years, the number of 16 to 19-year-olds accessing abortion services also increased.

There are concerns this is being driven in part by false and misleading information on apps such as TikTok.


Ireland – Calls for Government to make contraception more accessible

It follows the recent expansion of the free contraception scheme for young women between 17 and 30.

SUN, 03 SEP, 2023

THE Irish Pharmacy Union is calling on the Government to make contraception more accessible by offering more over the counter solutions for those seeking birth control. It follows the recent expansion of the free contraception scheme for young women between 17 and 30.

While the organisation welcomed the move, representatives are still urging the government to make it easier and faster for young women to avail of the scheme.


Nigeria – How preventing unwanted pregnancies can reduce abortion, deaths — Experts

by Sade Oguntola 
August 31, 2023

INDUCED abortion is illegal in Nigeria, except when performed to save a woman’s life. Both the penal code, which is generally applied in the country’s northern states, and the criminal code, which generally applies in the southern states, allow this exception and the regions specify similar criminal penalties for noncompliance.

Yet, pregnancy terminations are quite common and because they are often performed clandestinely or by unskilled providers, they are sometimes unsafe. A recent survey indicated that unintended pregnancy and abortion are experienced by women worldwide.