Poorer Women Vulnerable To Unplanned Pregnancies



Younger and poorer African women are vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies due to a lack of knowledge and options of contraception methods.

nal (SAMJ), on contraception coverage and methods used among women in SA.

The study suggestedthe rates of unplanned pregnancies, contraception failure and knowledge gaps demonstrate high levels of lack of access and choice, especially among black Africans and young women.

Data from a 2012 survey on 6296 women, aged between 14 to 49 years, showed that two-thirds of these women had unplanned pregnancies in the past five years, a quarter of which were due to contraceptives failures.

In South Africa and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, the injectable contraceptives are the most popular methods and their use has continued to rise over time.

By contrast, in more high-income countries, use of inject-able contraceptives is rare, aside from marginalised groups such as poor African-American or women of native origin.

The popularity of the inject-able method is due to its convenience for providers and women; it is cost-effective and is generally acceptable among women and providers.

Many black women lack knowledge and access to the variety of contraceptives. The study found that 92% of women knew about injectables, 89.9% about oral contraception, but fewer of Intrauterine (IUD) devices and only 47.3% knew of emergency methods.

International policy makers and advocates have placed particular emphasis on increasing access to long-acting reversible methods such as IUD and Sub-dermal implants as they deem them most effective.

The study maintained that low level of knowledge and frequent misconceptions about contraceptives among women of 15 to 19 years were particularly concerning. This casts a doubt on how effectively the national Integrated School Health Policy was being implemented.

The policy recommended that school health services act as a delivery platform for the provision of sexual and reproductive health services, such as contraception and condom distribution.

Access to contraception and choice of range of methods are key interventions to improve population health, particularly that of women.

Therefore, increased political and economic investment is necessary to decrease disparities in access to contraception between population groups and to raise overall levels of contraception.

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