A recent study published by the Guttmacher Institute weekend unveiled that contraceptive services and Maternal and Newborn Health (MNH) services fall far short of needs in developing regions like Nigeria.
The study which was titled: “Adding It Up: Investing in Contraception and Maternal and Newborn Health” 2017, shows that 214 million women in several developing countries want to avoid pregnancy but for a variety of reason are not using a modern method of contraception.
The study also discovered that tens of millions of women do not receive the basic pregnancy and delivery care they need to protect their health and that of their newborns.
In the study, an estimated 50 million women giving birth this year will receive fewer than four antenatal care visits, and 35 million women giving birth will not deliver in any health facility.
Though the progress has been slow, the study further reveals that there has been a steady increase in the use of modern contraceptive methods in developing countries, even as the number of women of reproductive age has grown higher over the years. As a result, the number of women with an unmet need for contraception has declined over the past three years, from 225 million in 2014.
The study called for an upward review of ongoing investments in family planning in order to sustain maintain these gains and make further progress.
The study noted.
“Ensuring that women with an unmet need for modern contraception overcome barriers to effective contraceptive use is crucial since they account for 84 percent of all unintended pregnancies in developing regions,”
In view of this, the President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute, Ann Starrs said, “Meeting the need for family planning and pregnancy-related health care in developing regions will have a dramatic impact on the lives of millions of women and their families.”
The study also discovered that among women giving birth in developing regions in 2017, only 61 percent receive four or more antenatal care visits and 73 percent deliver in a health facility.
It study also estimated that fully meeting contraceptive and MNH care needs in developing regions can be achieved by spending $52.5 billion annually, or just $8.39 per person per year (in 2017 U.S. dollars).
The research shows that meeting the needs for modern contraception and pregnancy-related care together is a cost-saving investment. Investments in contraceptive services substantially lower the cost of MNH care by decreasing the incidence of unintended pregnancies. As a result, for each additional dollar spent on contraceptive services above the current level, the cost of pregnancy-related care is reduced by a sum of $2.30.
A senior fellow at the Guttmacher Institute and lead author of the study, Dr Jacqueline E. Darroch, also reacted to this: “Investing in both contraceptive care and essential maternal and newborn care has the greatest impact on preventing needless deaths of women and newborns.
“Maternal deaths would drop to a quarter of current levels and newborn deaths would drop to less than one-fifth of current levels with an investment of just $8.39 per person per year.”