Access to family planning that meets the reality of people’s lives
Without reproductive health information and contraceptives, women face unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and serious health issues. For instance, women are twice as likely to contract HIV as men, yet they are often less able to protect themselves from infection. And tens of thousands of maternal deaths could be avoided each year if women delayed motherhood, spaced births, prevented unintended pregnancy, and avoided unsafely performed abortions.
What’s needed are family planning services and methods that meet the reality of women’s lives. PATH is helping women take charge of their own protection by making sure they have essential information and by developing woman-centered methods, including easier-to-use forms of the female condom, diaphragm, and an injectable contraceptive called Sayana® Press that is delivered in the Uniject™ injection system.
We also believe that it’s critical for youth to be empowered with information and resources about their reproductive health to reduce their risk of unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and gender-based violence. We enhance their access to services and encourage healthy behaviors by reaching out to them through pharmacies, schools, and workplaces.
Keeping the shelves stocked
But providing accurate information and a range of contraceptive choices isn’t enough. Too often women walk long distances to a clinic only to find their contraceptive method isn’t available. A shelf empty of contraceptive supplies has a ripple effect on women, families, and countries.
PATH works with low-resource countries to ensure they have adequate supplies. We provide a toolkit to improve supply-chain management; guidance on where and how to buy safe, high-quality products; and tap into the expertise of more than 80 global agencies and organizations that can help countries get supplies even during emergency shortages. We also help countries develop a total market approach, which directs people who can pay for services to the private sector and frees up public resources for those most in need.
Our ultimate goal: making sure everyone, everywhere can access the information and tools they need to plan their families and stay healthy.
Photo: PATH/Mike Wang.