Unintended pregnancies – limited family planning options
In 2015-2019, there were 121 million unintended pregnancies each year, corresponding to a global rate of 64 per 1000 women aged 15-49. This is a decline from 79 per 1000 women in 1990-1994. However, there exists persistent inequalities in access to sexual and reproductive services amongst the region and countries- especially in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Each year, 111 million unintended pregnancies occur in LMICs (as of 2019), accounting for 49% of all pregnancies in those countries. These unintended pregnancies are caused by unmet need for modern contraception – that is, women wanting to avoid a pregnancy but are not using a modern method. This inequality needs to be addressed with vigorous investments in family planning area, but due to the disruption of sexual and reproductive health service provision caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the trend of unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal and newborn deaths has been a negative one. Decline in use of services resulting from COVID-19 related disruptions may result in 10% proportional decline in use of short- and long-acting reversible contraceptive methods in LMICs. This would result in an additional 49 million women with the unmet need for modern contraceptives and an additional 15 million unintended pregnancies over the course of a year². JOICFP keeps supporting frontline health workers and community health volunteers who are working tirelessly to provide essential services like family planning to people in need.