Study Led by University of Massachusetts Scholars Examines Contraceptive Use in Developing Nations

A new study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts and Avenir Health estimated the extent of modern contraceptive use by women in the world’s 69 poorest countries. The results showed that among women of reproductive age who are married or in a relationship in these 69 countries, only 45.7 percent used modern contraceptive methods. More than 21 percent of women in these countries who did not want to have a baby or who wanted to delay having a baby were not using contraceptives.

Overall, 28.8 million more women were using modern contraceptives in these countries than was the case five years ago. The greatest increases in contraceptive use between 2012 and 2017 were in Africa. The authors write that “country success stories include rapid increases in Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Chad.” But overall, in Africa, modern contraceptives are used by less than a third of women of reproductive age.

The study, “Modern Contraceptive Use, Unmet Need, and Demand Satisfied Among Women of Reproductive Age who Are Married or in a Union in the Focus Countries of the Family Planning 2020 Initiative: A Systematic Analysis Using the Family Planning Estimation Tool,” was published in the journal The Lancet. It may be accessed here.

The study was supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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