World Contraception Day

September 26, 2011 — Today is World Contraception Day, a day to raise awareness around modern contraception choices that are available to women and couples.

In 2011, more than 215 million women around the world have an unmet need for family planning, and every year more than 340,000 women die from pregnancy-related causes. Behind these statistics are the faces of real women and men– mothers, daughters, husbands, and sons – who are seeking ways to protect their health and plan their families.

PSI is proud of the fact that – every day – we are able to respond to the comprehensive needs of women and their loved ones. With the support of our donors, PSI now offers contraception information, products, and services to women and couples in 37 countries worldwide.

Modern Solutions, Comprehensive Care

Over the past three decades, PSI has expanded its portfolio of contraceptive methods from male condoms and oral contraceptives to include injectable contraceptives, intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs), hormonal implants, female condoms, emergency contraception, fertility awareness methods such as Cyclebeads® and voluntary sterilization. By offering a full range of modern methods to women, PSI is better positioned to positively affect contraceptive uptake and continuation rates. PSI’s partnerships with local health providers (through networks and social franchising) help to regulate the quality of family planning services delivered to clients.

Last year alone, PSI’s reproductive health programs prevented approximately 4.2 million unintended pregnancies, averted over 21,700 maternal deaths, and provided 18.6 million couple years of protection (CYP).

Importance of Youth Education and Outreach

On this year’s World Contraception Day, PSI joins the global health community in bringing attention to the importance of reaching young people with contraception information and choices. Under the motto “Live your life. Know your rights. Learn about contraception,” World Contraception Day 2011 focuses on the right of young people to access accurate and unbiased information about contraception in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

Today, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, with support from PSI*, released a third annual global survey that explores young people’s attitudes to sex and contraception. This year’s survey showed alarmingly high levels of unprotected sex among young people as well as poor knowledge of effective contraceptive options. Moreover, a large percentage of respondents reported avoiding asking healthcare professionals about contraception due to embarrassment, and many cannot rely on their schools to provide comprehensive sex education.

Key survey results include:

  • Since 2009 the number of people having sex without contraception with a new partner has increased by 111% in France (from 19% to 40%), 39% in the USA (from 38% to 53%) and by 19% in Great Britain (from 36% to 43%)
  • On average, only half of young people surveyed across Europe (55%) receive sex education in school compared to three quarters across Latin America (78%), Asia Pacific (76%) and the USA (74%)
  • Over half of the young people surveyed in China, Estonia, Kenya, Korea, Norway and Thailand reported having had unprotected sex with a new partner at least once
  • 42% of respondents in Asia Pacific and 28% in Europe who could not get hold of contraception when they needed it claimed it was because they were too embarrassed to ask a healthcare professional
  • 22% of young people across Asia Pacific, 20% across Europe and 14% in Latin America said that their school does not provide a comfortable environment for questions on sexuality and intimacy

These results speak for themselves. Young people worldwide are in urgent need of contraception education and choices. Today, on World Contraception Day, the global community must listen and respond to them.

About the PSI-Bayer Partnership

PSI partners with Bayer to procure contraceptive commodities for distribution to underserved population segments in developing countries. The partnership facilitates the sharing of information related to effectively and ethically marketing pharmaceutical products that are desperately needed by PSI’s target audience. This collaborative relationship helps Bayer to better understand the global market place and PSI to meet the needs of the women they serve.