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Focus on access to contraceptives for women in sub-Saharan Africa

A doctor examines a pregnant woman at a hospital. Picture: AP

A doctor examines a pregnant woman at a hospital. Picture: AP

Published Dec 15, 2021

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Pretoria - Organon, a global company focusing on women’s health, has partnered with other companies to ensure there is access to contraception education and products in sub-Saharan Africa.

The company works with funders globally to support countries that are part of Family Planning 2020 on a medium to long-term financing agreement.

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The initiative was signed by world leaders at the London Summit in 2012 and the aim was to reach an additional 120 million users of modern contraception in the world’s 69 lowest-income countries by 2020.

It went on to become a movement with more than 130 governments, foundations, multilateral organisations, civil society organisations, youth-led organisations and private sector partners, all collaborating to advance rights-based family planning.

Business unit director at the Institutional Business Africa Mokgadi Mashishi said they supported an access programme to family planning products as well as initiatives that aim to empower women and make it easier for them to access family planning services, while always remaining sensitive to cultural and gender issues.

“We are continuously exploring ways to partner with key stakeholders to expand our offering and to improve healthcare systems that ensure a positive impact on women’s health.”

Organon sub-Saharan Africa managing director Dr Abofele Khoele said that they were working with partners across the continent to address women’s health issues including the taboos around menstruation and family planning.

“When we commemorated World Contraception Day on September 26 this year, the need for contraception education was highlighted and at the forefront of the journey to gender equity and women’s right to choose,” she said.

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Abofele added that the burden of unintended pregnancies has an enormous impact on women’s lives, and education plays a critical role in empowering them to make decisions about family planning.

“In addition, Africa’s population is the fastest growing in the world, which is challenging development efforts on the continent and leading to a greater strain on resources.”

In July 2020, the total number of women and girls using a modern method of contraception in the 69 focus countries stood at 320 million, up from 260 million when the partnership was launched.

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Since 2012, an additional 60 million women and girls have chosen to use modern contraception.

The number of modern contraceptive users in Africa has grown by 66% since 2012, from 40 million to more than 66 million women and girls.

In Central and Western Africa, the number of modern contraceptive users has doubled, meanwhile in Eastern and Southern Africa, the number of modern contraceptive users has grown by 70%.

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Mashishi said that their programmes give women the opportunity to exercise their right to choose.

In some instances, the identified need was to address teenage pregnancy or child spacing for families.

"By allowing access to family planning solutions and information, we are not only contributing to reducing unintended pregnancies and maternal mortality, but we are also affording women the opportunity to pursue their dreams, resulting in positive outcomes for women, their families and communities," she said.

Pretoria News

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