New data released by Marie Stopes Nepal has revealed the 1.6 billion reasons why we need to act now to ensure modern contraception and family planning services are an option for every woman. Lack of access to family planning is a major cause of maternal deaths in the developing world, exposing women to unsafe abortions and risky births.
As policymakers, donors, and advocates gather for the Family Planning Summit in London, research from Marie Stopes Nepal has highlighted the 1.6 billion reasons why contraception could transform women’s lives around the world.
According to a press release issued by Marie Stopes Nepal, if each of the 69 FP2020 focus countries provided contraception to every woman who want it by 2030, as agreed under the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs), family planning would prevent 1.6 billion unintended pregnancies, over 500 million unsafe abortions and 1.5 million maternal deaths. In Nepal, this equates to 14,600,000 unintended pregnancies averted, 4,43,000 Unsafe abortions averted and 8,600 maternal deaths averted.
Sophie Hodder, Country Director of Marie Stopes Nepal, says, “These figures show the incredible effect that contraception can have: 1.5 million lives saved, 1.6 billion lives transformed. This is why family planning matters and why this summit is so vitally important. “The goal of getting contraception to every woman that wants it is ambitious, but it has to be because the stakes are so high. Without access to contraception, women are more likely to have a large number of children in quick succession, putting significant pressure on their health, their family finances and their prospects for the future."
Over the last five years, the world has made impressive progress in expanding access to modern contraception. Despite population increases, for the first time in history, unmet need for contraception has fallen, with a record 300 million women and girls across 69 of the world’s poorest countries now using modern contraceptives iv . But huge numbers of women are still missing out, particularly the young, people in humanitarian crises and women in the hardest to reach places on earth.
Why now? This Family Planning Summit is a response to an urgent global need. Today, more than 60% of sexually active adolescents in developing regions who want to avoid pregnancy are not using modern contraception. With one of the largest generations of adolescents in history entering their reproductive years – 1.2 billion, our actions today could mean the difference between poverty and prosperity for entire nations.
“Marie Stopes Nepal provides contraception and safe abortion services to women every day and we see with our own eyes the transformational effect these services have not just on women’s lives, but on their wider families and communities and national stability and security,” said Sophie Hodder, Country Director of Marie Stopes Nepal. “It is a smart investment."
The case for investment is even more compelling when you realise how cost-effective family planning is and the huge savings it can bring. Expanding and improving services to meet all women’s needs for modern contraception in developing regions would cost $11 billion per year, or $1.75 per person per year with every additional dollar invested saving countries up to $120.