In 2016, the world will witness the largest generation in history entering its reproductive years.
With 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 on the planet, sexual health experts worldwide are facing considerable challenges in providing safe, affordable, effective contraception programs for young adults who are sexually active.
Among 252 million 15- to 19-year-old women in the developing world, 38 million are sexually active and don’t want to get pregnant—and yet 23 million aren’t using modern contraception.
What’s more, unsafe sex is now the fastest-growing risk factor for ill health in young people globally, soaring from the 13th leading cause of death for 15- to 19-year-olds in 1990 to the second leading cause of death for them in 2013.
In the United States, generations of abstinence-only education has now been positively correlated with increased rates of teen pregnancy and STIs.
Given the fact that there are more young people of reproductive age on the planet than ever before, PIC believes it’s critically important to ensure that all men and women have access, from an appropriately early age, to sexual education, family planning (FP) and contraception.
It’s estimated that in the developing world, improved access to these agencies of reproductive health could lower the number of unintended pregnancies by as many as six million a year, resulting in:
- 2.1 million fewer unplanned births
- 3.2 million fewer abortions
- 5,600 fewer maternal deaths
As an additional major benefit, this would help eliminate social alienation, incomplete education, unemployment and poverty that can result from unintended pregnancy.
It’s estimated that contraception information and supplies could be provided at a cost of just $21 per user per year. This would include the cost of funding healthcare worker training and, importantly, upgrading health facilities, education and outreach efforts to ensure that teens are using the most effective birth control method available to them.
PIC is actively campaigning for Canada to become more engaged internationally in the promotion of non-coercive family planning. It is urging that FP become a significant, integral part of Canada’s overseas assistance, convinced — as is the UN — that “family planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology available to the human race.”
You can help support the cause by signing our petition and sharing.
Doing so will help ensure women’s reproductive health, their human rights, and a more sustainable future for all.
Contact: Madeline Weld, PhD
President, Population Institute Canada