World Contraception Day is held on 26 September every year, to raise awareness of the issue of contraception, and enabling all people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
FIGO – a global organisation bringing together gynecological and obstetrical societies from 130 countries/territories – has as its vision women of the world achieving the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing throughout their lives. FIGO pursues its mission in very concrete ways: through advocacy, programmatic activities, capacity strengthening of Member Societies, education and training.
An estimated 225 million women in low-resource countries would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but have no access to contraception*. FIGO believes that it is important for women – as their right – to be able to choose the number and spacing of their pregnancies. Availability of contraception would reduce 30 per cent of maternal deaths**and the vast number of unsafe abortions*** which contribute to 13 per cent of maternal deaths. Spacing births by more than two years reduces infant mortality and the incidence of preterm births and intrauterine growth restricted babies.
Effective contraception also helps to prevent pregnancy-related health risks, and reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and the risks associated with adolescent pregnancies.
FIGO knows that adequate, accurate information about contraception empowers women to make informed choices about their general sexual and reproductive health. Its Member Societies – working throughout the world – are committed to working towards ensuring that women can choose when, and whether, to become pregnant. Promotion of, and access to, modern contraceptive methods, and ensuring good sexual and reproductive health – especially for adolescents – is a pathway for gender equality, development and progress for all. It also ensures women’s wellbeing and self-sufficiency, and helps to support the communities in which they live.
FIGO helps to achieve these objectives through its recently established Working Group on Contraception – whose aims include clarifying the global extent of the unmet need for contraception and the policy and delivery factors to be addressed to meet these needs – and its ‘Institutionalisation of Immediate Post-Partum IUD Services’ initiative.
World Contraception Day provides a vital opportunity to remind global stakeholders to recommit to the goals of universal sexual and reproductive rights through a focus on women’s choice, medical eligibility and availability.