We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Vietnam has expanded reproductive health services, which include family planning, pre- and post-natal care and HIV prevention. ©UNFPA/Doan Bau Chau

Over 220 million women have an 'unmet need for family planning'

More than half of all reproductive-age women in developing countries have little or no access to modern contraceptives.

A UNITED NATIONS report has found that 222 million women across the world have “an unmet need for family planning”.

UNFPA’s 2012 report on the State of World Population claims that increasing access to family planning has proven to be a sound economic investment but more than half of all reproductive-age women in developing countries are still in need of modern contraceptives.

According to the research, one-third of the growth of Asian ‘tiger’ economies can be attributed to a demographic shift; one which has seen the number of income-generating adults increase to a level higher than those who depend on them for support.

This shift, says the report, was a consequence of family planning and brought increased productivity, leading to economic development in the region.

Speaking at the Dublin launch, Alanna Armitage, director of the UNFPA’s Geneva office, said the report highlights the fact that the huge unmet need for family planning impacts on rates of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions.

“Despite promises, resolutions and conventions that affirm the value of family planning, it remains out of reach for a staggering 222 million women in developing countries,” she said.

“This is because of limited availability of services, costs and a host of conditions in the lives of women and men that prevent them from accessing sexual and reproductive health services. These barriers are limiting their rights.

“Our report shows that access to family planning unlocks unprecedented rewards at both the individual and national levels.  The cumulative effect of highly personal decisions can influence entire countries and regions.

One recent study, for example, predicts that if the fertility rate fell by just one child per woman in Nigeria in the next 20 years, the country’s economy would grow by at least $30 billion.

“As Ireland well knows from its own experiences, family planning is one of the biggest development and public health successes of the past 40 years. It has saved the lives of millions of women and children, it has helped to slow population growth, and it has helped families break the cycle of poverty. But we must remember that family planning is not a privilege; it is a human right. Our challenge now is to work to ensure that women – and men – worldwide are not denied this right.”

According to the report, providing modern contraceptives to all who need them in 2012 would mean increasing current costs by $4.1 billion.

Ireland elected to UN Human Rights Council for first time

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.