UNFPA’s assessments needs reveal low use of IUDs in developing countries

Needs Assessments conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in 10 developing countries including Ghana, have revealed that surgical and the Intrauterine Devices (IUDs), which are safe and cost effective, were the least utilised among family planning services.

The needs assessments, which was carried out between 2005 and 2011 was meant to use policy guidelines, strategy design, planning and priority–setting to accelerate achievement of Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 as well as strengthening the health systems.

Dr Nuriye Ortayli, Technical Advisor in charge of Sexual and Reproductive Health of UNFPA, was addressing a Plenary Session on “Promoting Family Planning for Post Partum Women: Current Recommendations; Porgramme Initiatives and Future Directions” at the on-going Second International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar.

Over 2,200 participants attending the three-day conference are examining cutting edge research and programmes designed to advance the health and wealth of families and nations worldwide.

The Bill and Melinda Gates, Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Government of Senegal’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, along with international including UNFPA, World Bank, World Health Organisation and USAID are co-hosting the Conference on “Family Planning: Research and Best Practices”.

Dr Ortayli said it was unfortunate that assessing family planning services is not a major concern for steering committees in many countries under studied and attribute the low utilization of IUDs to prejudice.

She explained that over 90 per cent of women during their first year of post partum wanted to either delay or avoid future pregnancies while nearly 65 per cent of women globally had an unmet need of family planning in their first year post partum.

The immediate post partum period, she said, was very critical to the introduction of family planning to every woman in need while they were already within the health system.

“After birth, the recommended interval before the next pregnancy is at least 24 months to reduce adverse maternal peri-natal and infant outcomes”.

Dr Ortayli noted that of the 10 countries that were under studied, four countries;Ghana, Malawi, Ethiopia and Afghanistan, were ranked good for using 13 family planning indicators in their need assessments.

Benin, Burundi, Madagascar and Pacific countries were ranked “sufficient” for using between 7-12 family planning indicators in their assessment needs while Cambodia and Rwanda were those ranked insufficient for using 0-6 family planning indicators in their needs assessments.

The countries under studied used some data such as the provision of emergency contraception to victims of sexual violence, reported provision of services by health workers months.

In Ghana, out of the 1,268 health facilities, 1,159 providing services were surveyed. Of the surveyed facilities, 86 per cent provided temporary family planning methods and 16 per cent provided surgical family planning in the last three months.

IUDs and implants were stocked by 35 per cent and 39 per cent of facilities respectively while emergency contraception was provided to victims of sexual violence by 32 per cent of the providers.

Family planning counseling and services were also provided after unsafe or incomplete abortion by 90 per cent of the providers studied.

In Afghanistan, while IUDs were stocked by 91 per cent of facilities, emergency contraception was stocked by 41 per cent of facilities.

Availability of human resources was the top reason for non-provision of temporary and surgical family planning methods while training issues were problematic for provision of surgical family planning.

Malawi had only 11 per cent of facilities stocked of IUDs while 48 per cent of facilities stocked of implants.

Policy issues were the top reasons for non-provision of both temporary and surgical Family Planning.

Ethiopia had emergency contraception provided to victims of sexual violence by 65 per cent of providers. Post abortion contraception was provided in 73 per cent of facilities.

Dr Ortayli stressed the need for countries to strengthen their results with observational studies on the provision of post partum family planning and training of health professionals should include family planning.

“Women want to be treated holistically not in pieces therefore we should take advantage of child welfare clinics to attend to the family planning needs of women,” she added.

Dr Ortayli called for a change in the mindset of people on family planning as well as turn the missed opportunities into golden opportunities.

Source: GNA

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