Meeting the need, fulfilling the promise: youth and long-acting reversible contraceptives

Meeting the need, fulfilling the promise: youth and long-acting reversible contraceptives

The highest proportion of young people today - 89 percent - live in developing countries. In some sub-Saharan African countries, where fertility remains high, we can expect growing cohorts of children and youth, unless fertility needs can be met. Addressing the sexual and reproductive health of this large youth population is critical to support their universal right to health-including access to contraception-and to contribute to efforts to expand education, provide meaningful employment, and reduce poverty.
 
Fortunately, the importance of providing reproductive health information and services to youth is gaining worldwide attention. In 2015 the Global Consensus Statement on youth and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) was launched and more than 50 influential organizations and governments have signed on. The Consensus Statement says that ensuring young people’s access to LARCs will help to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, decrease unsafe abortions, and ensure full and informed contraceptive choice for youth.
 
This brief discusses the advantages and challenges of providing LARCs - specifically contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs) - to youth, and provides case studies from Ethiopia and Madagascar. It also outlines actions for policymakers and donors to make youth access to LARCs a reality.
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