World Contraception Day 2021: Find out its theme, history and significance

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Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, it has negatively impacted the well-being of women in multiple ways, including contraception, family planning and gender-based violence

Representational image. News18

The international community observes World Contraception Day on 26 September to recognise the right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children. The importance of it was asserted at the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994, and is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under target 3.7. “By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes”.

Here’s everything you need to know about the day:

History

The World Contraception Day was first observed on 26 September in 2007 by ten international family planning organisations to raise awareness about contraception and to enable couples to make an informed decision regarding starting a family, so that every pregnancy is wanted.

The ten organisations included Asian Pacific Council on Contraception, Centro Latinoamericano Salud y Mujer, European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health, German Foundation for World Population, International Federation of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, Population Services International, The Population Council, The USAID, Women Deliver.

It is now supported by a coalition of 15 international NGOs, governmental organisations, and scientific and medical societies with an interest of spreading the right knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.

Theme

The theme of the World Contraception Day is “Contraception: it’s your life, it’s your responsibility.”

Significance

In developing countries, about 255 million women who want to plan their pregnancies lack access to modern contraceptive methods. This avoidable risk increases maternal mortality, which is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Unintended pregnancy and HIV are two of the greatest threats to the sexual and reproductive health of women. Women living in areas with high rates of HIV, lack access to contraceptive methods. Awareness about the modern contraceptive methods can help women and couples make wise choices that help improve the well-being of women and the society.

Human Right

Ahead of the World Contraception Day, UN experts at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on 23 September issued the following statement:

“Access to family planning and contraception services, free of coercion or impediment, is a component of the right to health that is central to women’s autonomy and agency and key in the realization of women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination, life, sexual and reproductive health rights and other human rights.”

States must respect and protect key principles of non-discrimination, equality and privacy, as well as bodily integrity, autonomy, dignity and well-being of individuals, especially in relation to sexual and reproductive health rights.

Key facts

  • Among the 1.9 billion Women of Reproductive Age group (15-49 years) worldwide in 2019, 1.1 billion have a need for family planning; of these, 842 million are using contraceptive methods, and 270 million have an unmet need for contraception.
  • The proportion of the need for family planning satisfied by modern methods, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicator 3.7.1, was 75.7 percent globally in 2019, yet less than half of the need for family planning was met in Middle and Western Africa.
  • Only one contraceptive method, condoms, can prevent both a pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • Use of contraception advances the human right of people to determine the number and spacing of their children.
  • Contraceptive use is much lower in the developing countries like Africa
  • Globally, the number of women using contraceptive methods would increase by 778 million in 2030
  • One in ten women has an unmet need for family planning
  • About 45,000 Indian women die due to pregnancy and related complications every year
  • Less than half of the married women in India use a modern method of contraception
  • Only 0.3 percent men have undergone sterilisation
  • Only 5.6 percent men use condoms

Why WCD 2021 is more important

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it has negatively impacted the well-being of women in multiple ways, including contraception, family planning and gender-based violence. The consequences include millions of unintended pregnancies1, 500,000 more girls being forced into marriage, and 31 million additional cases of gender-based violence in the first six months of lockdown alone.

These topics have therefore become more urgent as life circumstances have changed drastically throughout the last year. In fact, the progress made in the past decades on these matters is strongly at risk of being rolled back. The pandemic is deepening pre-existing inequalities and exposing vulnerabilities in social, political, and economic systems of the world.

India

In a country like India, WCD assumes even more importance as contraception is key for population control, a problem plaguing the nation for quite some time now. As better contraception leads to better family planning, which also helps many families lift themselves out of poverty.



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