Photo: Jim Daniels/FHI 360
World leaders recently ratified the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which set 169 ambitious targets to be achieved by 2030. Reaching these goals would greatly improve the lives of people worldwide. Women and girls have much to gain, especially because two of the targets call for ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning.
Given the contributions that family planning can make to nearly all 17 of the goals, we think that universal access to family planning could be a Sustainable Development Goal of its own. Still, the global community has taken a big step in the right direction.
Now, how can we ensure that universal access to family planning becomes a reality? Here are five ways.
1. Bring new and lower-cost contraceptive methods to market.
More than 225 million women in developing countries want to avoid or delay pregnancy but are not using an effective method of family planning. For many of these women, the currently available products do not meet their needs and preferences.
Some popular methods in the United States, such as the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), remain largely unavailable to women in developing countries because of cost. The introduction of more affordable products, such as the new LNG-IUS from Medicines360 and Sino-implant (II), can be game changing for diversifying the method mix accessible to women.
Researchers are also developing novel methods of long-acting, highly effective contraception, such as a biodegradable implant and a longer-acting injectable.