Leading Safe Choices: Family planning in South Africa and Tanzania
Across the world, 222 million women would like to delay or prevent a pregnancy, but have no access to contraception. This unmet need for family planning contributes to a third of maternal deaths and leads to 47 000 deaths from unsafe abortion every year. These deaths are preventable if women have access to the means to control their fertility, and to safe services should they choose an abortion. So what can be done, and what are the barriers to addressing this issue?
Family planning is a low-tech, yet high-impact area of health care. With access to quality services, particularly to highly effective long-acting reversible contraception, women can choose whether or not to have children, when, and how many. Quality family planning services improve not only the health of the woman, but also prevent maternal deaths from unsafe abortion. Yet many health-care providers around the world are not trained in family planning or safe abortion services, and those who are trained often feel unacknowledged and unsupported.
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