News & Views

Population Briefs

Reducing Unmet Need for Contraception: Helping Women to Continue Effective Use

Reducing Unmet Need for Contraception: Helping Women to Continue Effective Use
Photo credit: Population Council

In the developing world, 222 million women would like to delay or avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraception. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, the development community committed to reducing this unmet need for modern contraception by reaching 120 million women and girls from 69 of the world’s poorest countries with voluntary access to family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020, an agreement known as FP2020. In a recent study, Population Council researchers recommend a promising strategy for reducing unmet need for modern contraception. Rather than focusing solely on reaching women who have never used contraception, the researchers suggested providing better information and services to support women who already use contraceptives, and making it easier for those who previously used contraception to resume use.

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Population Briefs

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Breastfeeding Women: Introduction of the Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Breastfeeding Women: Introduction of the Progesterone Contraceptive Vaginal Ring
Photo credit: Population Council

For the first several months after childbirth, exclusive breastfeeding is generally an effective method for delaying a subsequent pregnancy. Many postpartum women, however, do not or are not able to breastfeed exclusively. Once a woman begins supplementing her infant’s diet, stops breastfeeding, or resumes menstruation, she should use a family planning method if she wishes to space or limit childbearing.

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Population Briefs

“Anything Can Happen Anytime”: Perceived Lack of Safety among Girls in South Africa

“Anything Can Happen Anytime”: Perceived Lack of Safety among Girls in South Africa
Photo credit: Population Council

A novel study conducted by the Population Council and partners in South Africa has shown that teenage girls restrict their own movement in public areas substantially more than same-age boys, younger girls, and younger boys. None of the girls of any age rated any place in their community as more than "somewhat safe." The study, which employed "participatory mapping" among boys and girls in both rural and urban areas, suggests that self-restriction of movement among girls at puberty may result from an increased perception of their risk of experiencing violence or harassment in the community.

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From Our Partners

UNFPA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Boost Family Planning in Developing Countries

UNFPA and the Gates Foundation announced a partnership to help expand access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives such as injectables and implants. The organizations will use mobile and information technologies and social media to expand method choice and availability and address social, cultural, and gender barriers to family planning information, contraceptives, and services, particularly for young people. Read the release on the FP2020 website.

Press Releases

Animal Study Provides First Evidence that Gel Can Prevent Multiple Virus Transmission in Both Vagina and Rectum

NEW YORK (17 April 2014) — Population Council scientists and their partners have found that their proprietary microbicide gel is safe, stable, and can prevent the transmission of multiple sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in both the vagina and rectum in animals: HIV, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), and human papillomavirus (HPV). The USAID-funded study also provides the first data that the gel is effective against multiple strains of HIV, and has a window of efficacy in the vagina against all three viruses of at least eight hours prior to exposure. A Phase 1 safety trial of the gel is set to begin enrollment in May 2014.

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Council Commentary

Now: Levonorgestrel IUS Available in Afghanistan

Now: Levonorgestrel IUS Available in Afghanistan
Photo credit: American Medical Overseas Relief (AMOR)

In 2003, Population Council and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals teamed up to create the International Contraceptive Access (ICA) Foundation—a collaboration working to meet the reproductive needs of women in resource-poor settings, primarily in developing countries. Working with local service-delivery organizations, the Foundation provides the Council-developed LNG IUS (levonorgestrel releasing intrauterine system)—a long-acting reversible hormonal contraceptive method—on a not-for-profit basis to selected public-sector organizations. Since December 2012, nearly 50,000 LNG IUS have been delivered.

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Council Commentary

Excess Risk of Maternal Mortality in Adolescent Mothers: Less Than Previously Believed?

A recent analysis by Andrea Nove and colleagues in Lancet Global Health is consistent with an analysis by Population Council vice president Ann Blanc and colleagues, both of which found that the excess mortality risk faced by mothers aged 15–19 years might be “less than previously believed.” In a letter to the editor of Lancet Global Health, Blanc reminds the maternal health community that “the evidence for evidence-based policymaking should hold up under scrutiny and that facts are not facts by virtue of frequent repetition.”

Media Coverage

Intimate Partner Violence in India: Backlash Against Accomplished Women

Women in India who have more education than their husbands, who earn more, or who are the sole earners in their families have a higher likelihood of experiencing frequent and severe intimate partner violence than women who are not employed or who are less educated than their spouse, according to a study just published in the Council’s journal, Population and Development Review. Don’t miss coverage of this study by the The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Reuters.

Press Releases

New Study from Population and Development Review Finds That Indian Women with More Resources than Their Husbands Face Heightened Risk of Violence

"Women's and Men's Relative Status and Intimate Partner Violence in India," by Abigail Weitzman

NEW YORK (25 March 2014) — A new study has found that women in India who have more education than their husbands, who earn more, or who are the sole earners in their families have a higher likelihood of experiencing frequent and severe intimate partner violence (IPV) than women who are not employed or who are less educated than their spouse. The article is included in the latest issue of Population and Development Review, a journal published by the Population Council.

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From Our Partners

When Words Aren’t Enough: Who’s Holding Governments Accountable on Rights?

Population Action International’s (PAI) advocacy associate, Kim Ocheltree, blogged about a panel event organized by the Population Council on human rights-based approaches to family planning. The panel was moderated by Council vice president John Townsend. Speakers included the Council’s Karen Hardee, as well as Pamela Barnes (President and CEO, EngenderHealth), Suzanne Ehlers (President and CEO, PAI), and Françoise Girard (President, International Women’s Health Coalition). A conceptual framework encouraging voluntary family planning programs to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights (developed by The Futures Group and EngenderHealth, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) was published in the Population Council journal, Studies in Family Planning, and can be accessed here.