Repositioning Family Planning

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Every day, 1,600 women and more than 10,000 newborns die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Almost 99% of these maternal and 90% of neonatal deaths occur in the developing countries. As the first pillar of safe motherhood and essential component of primary health care, family planning plays a major role in reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality.

Family planning enhances efforts to improve family health. However, traditional beliefs, religious barriers and lack of male involvement have weakened family planning interventions. Research has confirmed high "unmet need" for family planning in sub-Saharan Africa in term of the number or percentage of married women who say they prefer avoid a pregnancy but are not using any method of contraception.

In recognition of the family planning importance, the ministers of Health adopted a framework 2005-2014 for accelerated action to reposition family planning on national agenda and in reproductive health services. The framework, developed by the WHO Regional Office for Africa, in collaboration with its partners calls for increased efforts to advocate the recognition of the pivotal role of family planning in achieving health and development objectives at all levels, as targeted by MDGs 4, 5 and 6.

SRH Programme is supporting countries to: (i) raise awareness at policy and political level on the benefit of family planning, (ii) develop or review family planning policies, (iii) improve the quality of family planning and other reproductive health services and (iv) foster integration of family planning into reproductive health.