Posted by Charlotte van Tuijl on August 6, 2020 at 4:42 pm
New data published from the Adding it Up 2019 study by the Guttmacher Institute show that providing essential sexual and reproductive health care would reduce unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal deaths by about two-thirds in low- and middle-income countries.
Adding It Up: Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2019 documents the sexual and reproductive health needs of 1.6 billion women of reproductive age in 132 low- and middle-income countries in 2019. The report finds that 218 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception. This need is disproportionately high among adolescents aged 15–19 who want to avoid a pregnancy (43%, compared with 24% among all women aged 15–49).
This study couldn’t be timelier, as resources worldwide are being diverted away from reproductive health care in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A package of care that would meet all women’s needs for modern contraception, pregnancy-related and newborn care, and treatment for the four most common curable STIs would cost just $10.60 per person per year in low- and middle-income countries. This represents an increase of $4.80 per person over current costs.
Crucially, because contraception reduces unintended pregnancies, these investments end up saving costs: Every $1 spent on contraceptive services beyond the current level would save $3 in the cost of maternal, newborn and abortion care.
With increased investment in proven sexual and reproductive health interventions, low- and middle-income countries would be better able to achieve their national health and development goals, including universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The full report is available here.
For highlights, check out these related materials from the Adding It Up 2019 study: