This article highlights key findings and recommendations from the PACE project’s policy brief, Best Practices for Sustaining Youth Contraceptive Use. It explores the unique patterns and drivers of contraceptive continuation among youth based on a new analysis of Demographic and Health Survey and Service Provision Assessment data. It outlines policy and program strategies to address obstacles to contraceptive continuation among young women who wish to prevent, delay, or space pregnancies.
Supporting contraceptive continuation, particularly among youth, could have significant impact on global unmet need for contraception. Despite recent advances in expanding access to voluntary family planning, 218 million women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries, including 14 million adolescent girls (ages 15 to 19), would like to prevent, delay, or avoid pregnancy but are not using modern contraception. Among these women with an unmet need, an estimated 38 percent are former family planning users who have discontinued use of a modern contraceptive method.
In many countries, youth ages 15 to 24 have higher rates of contraceptive discontinuation than older women. While side effects and poor quality of care contribute to low rates of contraceptive continuation across age groups, youth may be particularly sensitive to side effects and face significant barriers to accessing quality family planning care, including provider bias. A new analysis of Demographic and Health Survey and Service Provision Assessment data found that waiting time is the most common issue reported during a family planning visit to a health facility among women under age 25.
Policies that support high-quality counseling, active follow up mechanisms, and access to the full complement of contraceptive methods are best practices for sustaining contraceptive use among youth who wish to prevent, space, or delay pregnancies. Countries should consider the following seven policy recommendations for increasing contraceptive continuation among youth:
Learn more about this topic in the full policy brief, available in English and French. Contact the PACE Project for a companion resource for youth advocates. Please reach out to Cathryn Streifel at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or expressions of interest.
Join Knowledge SUCESS and FP2030 on April 29 at 7AM EDT for a session in the Connecting Conversation series to listen to Cathryn Streifel and other distinguished speakers share their perspectives on how health systems can continue to respond to young people as they grow and change.
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