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Hour of Need: Time for Better Contraceptives in Developing Nations

Amanda Stevenson-Grund - Friday, June 12, 2015

“More than 220 million women in developing countries who don’t want to get pregnant lack access to contraceptives and voluntary family planning information and services. Less than 20 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa … use modern contraceptives.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Family Planning. Strategy Overview. Accessed 2014.

 

Timing is everything. That’s certainly true of pregnancy. Unintended pregnancies can pose health risks to mothers and infants. Contraceptives can prevent these risks, but access to such medical resources is limited in parts of the world. There is a need for contraceptives in developing nations that must be met, despite the obstacles.

Contraceptives are vital for the well being of people who live in developing nations because contraceptives reduce adolescent pregnancy and maternal and infant mortality. Spacing pregnancies lowers maternal health risk. According to the World Health Organization, having more than four children increases maternal mortality rate. This also increases infant mortality rate because infants born to mothers who died because of childbirth have a higher chance of disease and death. Adolescents are most likely to give birth to underweight and premature infants. Contraceptives lower the rate of teen pregnancy, which lowers infant mortality. Male and female condoms also prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In 2012, 60% of women in sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 15 and 49 had an unmet need for modern contraceptives, according to a 2013 article in the Lancet. That means 53 million women in sub-Saharan Africa alone wanted to avoid pregnancy but did not have modern contraceptives. Accessing contraceptives in this region can be a challenge due to lack of financial resources, lack of knowledgeable healthcare workers and lack of access to adequate healthcare providers.

Despite the obstacles, developing nations require better access to modern contraceptives. Orbis Biosciences uses Precision Particle FabricationTM technology to create long-acting, reversible contraceptives that don’t require multiple visits to a clinic or physician. As technology like ours continues to improve and international aid increases, the needs in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing nations will be met, and their hour of need will be over.

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