Journal Article

Reducing unmet need and unwanted childbearing: Evidence from a panel survey in Pakistan

Pakistan's high unmet need for contraception and low contraceptive prevalence remain a challenge, especially in light of the country's expected contribution to the FP2020 goal of expanding family planning services to an additional 120 million women with unmet need. Analysis of panel data from 14 Pakistani districts suggests that efforts to reduce unmet need should also focus on empowering women who are currently practicing contraception to achieve their own reproductive intentions through continuation of contraceptive use of any method. Providing women with better quality of care and encouraging method switching would bridge the gap that exists when women are between methods and thus would reduce unwanted births. This finding is generalizable to other countries that, like Pakistan, are highly dependent on short-acting modern and traditional methods. The approach of preventing attrition among current contraceptive users would be at least as effective as persuading nonusers to adopt a method for the first time.