Family planning is without a doubt one of the most important strides in public health over the past 100 years. It has generally been defined as a woman’s ability to decide if and when to have children.
Voluntary family planning is not only lifesaving but can even play a major role in boosting the development of countries. Women are empowered to complete their education, create or seize better socio-economic opportunities and in the long run achieve their full potential.
As the world prepares to celebrate World Population Day on 11 July, it is important to note that there have been positive effects, notably a reduction in the global fertility rate from 3.7 to 2.4 since 1980. Enabling women to make decisions about their health and their future is not only the right thing to do, family planning has a very important role to play in promoting wellness through the creation of stable and prosperous societies worldwide.
Family planning has the potential to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, as well as maternal and newborn deaths. A woman empowered with the ability to make choices about contraception is very likely to have healthier, well nourished children.
Positive effects of family planning
The positive effects of family planning have been heavily felt in the developing world. There are currently close to 300 million women in the 69 poorest countries in the world using contraceptives. Kenya, in particular had a 66.3% contraceptive prevalence rate as of 2015.
- This increased uptake of modern contraceptive methods has led to a global estimate of 82 million unwanted pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions and 125,000 maternal deaths being prevented annually.
- Women who have access to contraception, especially in the developing world are in a better position to space out their pregnancies by at least 36 months and their babies are twice as likely to celebrate their first birthday owing to the drastic drop in child mortality rates.
- Spaced out pregnancies also contribute to overall family wellness. For instance, women who space out their pregnancies are able to better their educational, financial and societal status. Parents are also able to give more time and better quality of education to their children.
Challenges and barriers to family planning
While we appreciate the positive effects from voluntary family planning, significant challenges and barriers remain. They include:
- Lack of access to services.
- Opposition from community leaders and spouses – usually on cultural, religious or personal grounds.
- Ignorance about family planning and its derived benefits.
How do we overcome these challenges
Even in this day and age, family planning is still largely perceived as the woman’s role. There is a need to involve and encourage men, government and religious bodies as well as community based organizations to play a more significant role in family planning. They can play a big role in dispelling myths and misconceptions about family planning and reproductive health especially when they are all well informed and encouraged to participate in awareness initiatives.
This collective front will not only help in overcoming challenges but will also aid in imparting knowledge and debunking myths, which will translate to stable, healthy and happier families capable of enjoying all round wellness.
And as we sign off, we’ve got an array of contraceptives to choose from. You can take your pick here, place your order and have them delivered to you.1