World Contraception Day 2016
Launched in 2007, World Contraception Day serves as an annual reminder to the global community of the importance of safely planned pregnancies while encouraging individuals to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health. However, not everyone has access to the resources and support they need to do so.
In 2012, it was estimated that 222 million women wanted contraception information and resources but were unable to access them due to societal pressures or limited availability of information.1 Experts now estimate that the unmet need for family planning impacts over 225 million women globally.2
Planning and spacing pregnancies can save lives
Estimates suggest that addressing the unmet need for family planning worldwide could prevent 79,000 maternal deaths3 : When a mother survives, her family thrives. When a family thrives, the community as a whole has a brighter future.
“Allowing women to choose whether, when, and how many children to have achieves progress on global health goals. It also helps break the cycle of poverty, and puts families, communities, and countries on a stronger, more prosperous and sustainable path.” ~World Health Organization (WHO)
Doing our part: Meeting the need in Tanzania
Thanks to support from partners including EngenderHealth, PSI, FHI360, Johns Hopkins, and the Manchester Family, CCBRT is providing family planning resources and counseling to some of the most marginalized populations in Tanzania.
Tim’s Corner Family Planning Center, established in memory of Tim Manchester through the generosity of Tim’s family, friends and colleagues, is a place for people to buy what they need and learn something new. This innovative kiosk, constructed from a refurbished sea shipping container, sells snacks, toiletries and phone credit, as well as providing free informational resources. Visitors can make appointments for a more in depth consultation. In a private consultation room just next door, CCBRT’s family planning nurse is trained to provide a full range of short and long term contraceptive methods, one-on-one counseling, and screening for cervical cancer. Tim’s Corner empowers patients and staff at the Disability Hospital with the resources they need to make informed decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
Today, Tim’s Corner marked World Contraception Day with a contest, prizes, and by distributing informational leaflets and free condoms at the CCBRT Disability Hospital.
Integration and empowerment
CCBRT is one of the largest providers of obstetric fistula treatment in the world. It is a common misconception that once a woman has had an obstetric fistula, she can never have another baby. The happy truth is, many women who have had a successful fistula repair can have safe pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. In order to ensure each fistula patient has the resources she needs after surgery, Tim’s Corner staff visit the Fistula Ward at CCBRT’s Disability Hospital every week to provide sexual and reproductive health education, and to instruct women about how to safely plan future pregnancies. Before a patient is discharged from the hospital, she has a one-on-one counseling session with a Family Planning nurse at the Tim’s Corner kiosk.
The integration doesn’t stop on the fistula ward. Tim’s Corner nurses have begun educating medical teams in each department of the hospital on the different methods of family planning available at the kiosk. They are also improving staff’s technical knowledge of Family Planning, enabling CCBRT’s healthcare workers to speak confidently and accurately about the options available to all patients.
The CCBRT Maternity and Newborn Hospital is in the final stage of construction, and the vision of integrated Family Planning at CCBRT is expanding. Family Planning resources and information will be made available to all patients before discharge and new recruits to the medical teams will receive training to prepare them to counsel patients in Family Planning options.
Globally, we have a long way to go to address the unmet demand for family planning services, but this World Contraception Day, we are proud of the progress we are seeing in Dar es Salaam. Through your support, and the support of our partners, we will work to ensure the patients and communities within our reach have access to the healthcare and resources they need and deserve.
1 Guttmacher/UNFPA. Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services, Estimates for 2012. June 2012.
2 United Nations Population Fund. http://www.unfpa.org/family-planning. Accessed 19 September. 2016.
3 Guttmacher/UNFPA. Adding It Up: Costs and Benefits of Contraceptive Services, Estimates for 2012. June 2012.
4 “Programmes – Promoting Health the Life Course.” World Contraception Day. World Health Organization (WHO), http://www.who.int/life-course/news/events/world-contraception-day/en/. Accessed 9/19/2016