Marie Stopes International and EngenderHealth lead endeavor to expand contraceptive choice

by Sara Malakoff, Senior Program Associate, EngenderHealth

Female sterilization is the world’s most popular contraceptive method with more than 220 million users. Sterilization is convenient for women who desire to limit childbearing, as it requires no further visits to a health care provider. In addition, it does not have the side effects that contribute to the discontinuation of user dependent methods, such as hormonal contraception. However, access to both male and female sterilization varies significantly geographically, is limited in many parts of the world (particularly in rural areas), and has not increased at a pace comparable to that of the unmet need to limit childbearing.

In an attempt to address issues of full contraceptive choice and to ensure the availability of and access to a wide range of contraceptives, including permanent methods, Marie Stopes International (MSI) and EngenderHealth under the auspices of the Support for International Family Planning Organizations (SIFPO) project funded by USAID, convened a two-day technical symposium in Nairobi in March 2014 entitled Provision of Permanent Methods of Contraception in Low-Resource Settings. A dynamic group of over 40 participants from 27 organizations and 13 countries attended the event.

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Can 223 million women be wrong? A reflection on the status of voluntary sterilization programs

Guest post by Lynn Bakamjian

Tanzanian couple receiving family planning counselling (Photo credit: Sala Lewis)

Tanzanian couple receiving family planning counselling (Photo credit: Sala Lewis)

Today, as family planning (FP) programs are receiving renewed attention and resources as a result of FP2020, several important issues have risen to the top of the investment agenda. These include increasing access to quality long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods; task-shifting FP information and services to lower level health workers to address provider shortages; and scaling- up approaches that extend services, such as postpartum FP , mobile services, and increased engagement of the private sector. As programs strive to make more contraceptive choices available to reach more than 200 million women with an unmet need for FP, there is one topic that receives little attention—how to expand access, availability, acceptability and quality of permanent methods (PMs) (voluntary female sterilization and vasectomy). Continue reading

Contraceptive Choice and Human Rights in Malawi: Q&A with UNFPA’s Dorothy Nyasulu

Over the past decade, Malawi’s family planning (FP) program has made remarkable strides in expanding access to FP to help women and couples better meet their desired family size. As a direct result of advocacy efforts and renewed government commitment to FP, a broader mix of contraceptive options are becoming more widely and equitably available, including long-acting and permanent methods (LA/PMs) such as implants and female sterilization. However, despite impressive gains [1], high unmet need and barriers to FP information and services persist. To learn more, EngenderHealth’s Holly Connor sat down with Dorothy Nyasulu, Assistant Representative for UNFPA/Malawi and a leading champion on human rights and gender equality for over 20 years, to discuss the intersection of FP, contraceptive choice, and human rights in her home country.

[1] The modern contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) increased from 22.4 in 2004 to 32.6 by 2010 (Malawi Demographic and Health Surveys)

Dorothy Nyasulu and Holly Connor of EngenderHealth/The RESPOND Project at a regional family planning stakeholders meeting in Malawi in February 2013.

Dorothy Nyasulu, Assistant Representative of UNFPA/Malawi and Holly Connor, Senior Program Associate, EngenderHealth/The RESPOND Project at a regional family planning stakeholders meeting in Mzuzu, Malawi in February 2013.

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