‘Contraceptive use expanding but not fast enough’

New Delhi, Dec 28 (IANS) A total of 80 million unintended pregnancies were prevented and 26.8 million unsafe abortions were averted in the last one year globally, says the progress report of Family Planning 2020 (FP2020).

FP2020 is an outcome of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning where more than 20 governments made commitments to address the barriers in access to contraceptives.

The report said 111,000 women’s and girls’ lives were saved due to usage of modern, effective methods of family planning since 2014.

Organisations working in the area, however, said there was a need for stronger efforts to fulfill the FP2020 goal, which aims to reach 120 million women and girls by the year 2020.

“More number of women now have access to modern contraceptive methods. However, this progress is slow in meeting the projections made during the 2012 London summit,” said a statement from Population Foundation of India (PFI), a New Delhi-headquartered policy advocacy organisation.

According to the FP2020 Commitment to Action 2014-2015 Progress Report, although an additional 24.4 million women and girls now have access to modern methods of contraception, this is 10 million fewer than the benchmark for 2015 projected at the time of the London summit.

“To achieve the FP2020 goal, India must increase the number of users of modern methods of contraception so that a greater proportion of all women and girls of reproductive age are served,” said Poonam Muttreja, executive director of PFI.

She said offering more types of modern methods in family planning programs would result in higher percentages of contraceptive use.

“Each additional one percent increase in the modern contraceptive prevalence rate can translate to 3.3 million additional women and help achieve FP2020’s goal and enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020,” said Muttreja, who is also a reference group member of FP2020.

There are nine other countries that need to increase modern contraceptive rates, including Pakistan and the Philippines.

Reports say the total global family planning expenditure is approximately US$12 per modern contraceptive user per year.

Almost half of expenditures occur in just five countries – Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Egypt, and Bangladesh – which account for 70 percent of modern contraceptive users among the FP2020 focus countries.

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