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A never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action in adolescent contraception, and what we must do to make full use of it. A just-published article

Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland

A never-before opportunity to strengthen investment and action in adolescent contraception, and what we must do to make full use of it. A just-published article - Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli

Introductory text by:

Dr. Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli
Scientist – Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health 
Department of Reproductive Health and Research 
World Health Organization
chandramouliv@who.int
@ChandraMouliWHO

At the Family Planning Summit (London, July 11), over 600 leaders and advocates - representing governments, the private sector, nongovernment organizations, civil society, and financial/technical support agencies - from across the globe, collectively announced over $2.5 billion in new funding to deliver rights-based family planning. A key focus of the Summit was on understanding and responding more effectively to adolescents who have been hitherto neglected.

The FP2020 Partnership and the Family Planning Summit have placed adolescent contraception high on the global agenda. We have a ‘never-before’ opportunity to move the agenda forward in this area.

This paper outlines how to make the best use of this opportunity. It poses and responds to five questions:

  1. What is this never-before opportunity (and how has it emerged)?
  2. Why are adolescents still unable to obtain and use contraceptives?
  3. What do we need to do – or do differently – to increase correct and consistent contraceptive use by adolescents?
  4. To expand access to quality contraceptive services to adolescents, to equity, what do we want to see happen in countries?
  5. Are there examples of low and middle income countries that have move ahead with adolescent contraception?

While there are still gaps in our knowledge and understanding, we have a much better sense of what needs to be done and how to do it, than ever before. Reaching the world’s adolescents with a range of contraceptive methods, in ways that respond to their needs and fulfil their rights will be challenging. It will require courageous leadership, resources, good science and strong management. But we have never had a better opportunity to do this than the one at hand. We must not squander it!

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