WHO joins call for renewed focus on family planning

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday committed to fast-tracking its assessment of new and existing quality contraceptives so that more women in low- and middle-income countries can obtain and use a broader range of safe and effective contraceptive products.

Other pledges made by WHO at Wednesday's Family Planning Summit in London include support to countries to integrate family planning services into basic health care and a systematic examination of why so many women are still unable to obtain contraception
when they need it.

“Access to modern contraception is a fundamental right of every woman,” WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, who is chairing a panel at the Summit on increasing access and expanding choice, was quoted as saying in a statement by the global health body.

“Hand-in-hand with this right is a need to honour the dignity of women by giving them a range of family planning options and the freedom to make their own personal choice,” she said in the statement, obtained by PANA in Lagos.

The London Summit aims to mobilise global policy, financing, commodity, and service delivery commitments to support the rights of an additional 120 million women and girls in the world's poorest countries to use contraceptive information, services and supplies, without coercion or discrimination, by 2020.

To help countries make the most of the commitments made at the Summit, WHO has identified a set of recommended policy actions to help countries capitalise on this new opportunity.

They include expanding the range of family planning choices on offer, so every woman can select a method that meets her needs; increasing the number of skilled health workers trained and allowed to provide family planning services; making family planning an essential component of health care services provided during the antenatal period, immediately after delivery or after abortion, and during the year following childbirth or abortion.

The recommended policy actions also include making long-acting and permanent methods of family planning, such as intrauterine devices, contraceptive implants, vasectomy, and female sterilization,available and acceptable, and eliminating social and non-medical restrictions on the
provision of contraceptives to adolescents to help reduce early pregnancy and the associated health risks.

An estimated 222 million women and girls in developing countries who do not want to get pregnant lack access to contraceptives, information, and services, according to WHO.
-0- PANA SEG 11July2012

11 july 2012 11:18:31

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