-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, March 11 (HealthDay News) -- The number of women
worldwide using modern contraceptive methods such as birth control
pills is increasing, but an estimated 233 million women with
partners may not have access to these methods in 2015, a new study
That means these women would have to rely on traditional
contraceptive methods, such as not having sex or withdrawal of the
penis before ejaculation.
Researchers analyzed data from 1990 to 2010 about women of
reproductive age (15 to 49) in 194 countries and found that the use
of contraception by married women increased from 55 percent to 63
percent during that time, while the unmet need for contraception
fell from 15 percent to 12 percent. (Women with unmet need are
those who want to delay or stop childbearing but aren't using any
method of birth control to prevent pregnancy.)
However, because of population growth and other factors, total
worldwide demand for contraception is projected to grow from 900
million in 2010 to 962 million in 2015. Increased spending on
family planning will be needed to provide modern contraception
methods to 233 million who would otherwise not have access to them,
said the researchers at the United Nations Population Division and
the National University of Singapore.
The largest increases in modern contraceptive use (more than 15
percent) between 1990 and 2010 were in southern Asia and eastern,
northern and southern Africa. However, in central and western
Africa, use of contraception by married women remained low,
according to the study, published online March 11 in
During that same period, the reduction in unmet need for
contraception was greatest in central America and northern Africa,
where it fell by 9 percent. Most countries had stable or reduced
rates of unmet need, but more than 20 percent of married women in
eastern, central and western Africa still had an unmet need in
Worldwide, an estimated 146 million married women had an unmet
need for modern contraception in 2010, a figure that increases to
221 million if women using traditional birth control methods are
included, the study said.
"It is of concern that contraceptive use remains very low in many African countries," John Cleland, a professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in England and author of an accompanying editorial, said in a journal news release. Cleland said the countries of Chad, Mali and Mauritania will likely experience a tripling of population size by mid-century, which will present an impossible burden on their fragile ecosystems.
"Expansion of community-based services is a priority but of equal importance is the need to address social opposition to contraception by mass media and efforts to engage the support of religious and local leaders," he added.
The World Health Organization has more about
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