Gov’t urged to lift barriers preventing access to contraceptive by women

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September 27, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

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Kunle Dehinsilu, Director of Integrated Marketing at Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes Sierra Leone has called on the government, through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, to lift barriers preventing many women and girls from accessing contraception.

“Young Sierra Leoneans face especially serious barriers to accessing life-saving contraceptives and family planning services, including insufficient knowledge about modern methods and healthcare providers who discourage use of contraception among unmarried people,” says Pharmacist Kunle Dehinsilu, Director of Integrated Marketing at Marie Stopes.

He was speaking yesterday at a presser hosted by the institution in commemoration of World Contraception Day on the theme: “It’s Your Life, It’s Your Responsibility.”

Launched in 2007, World Contraception Day is envisioned to improve awareness on contraception, as well as enabling young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health in the hope that every pregnancy is intentional.

According to Dehinsilu, they have applied successful approaches to strategically integrate family planning and build upon existing platforms across broad areas of reproductive maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.

“With each passing year, more and more people discovered there are choices when it comes to methods of contraception. With so many birth control options available, choosing a most suitable form can be discouraging for many teens,” he noted.

He added that it was timely to work with young people as ambassadors that can make good use of the power of technology, advocacy and youth engagement to transform the landscape of contraception in their communities.

Also, Director of Quality Assurance Management, Dr. Felix Ikenna, disclosed that in 2017 they provided 352,000 people with various forms of contraceptives, while over a million condoms were distributed.

He added that their intervention prevented 107,000 unwanted pregnancies and 54,000 unsafe abortions.

“Currently, three out of five adolescents worldwide – or 23million people – who want to use contraception to prevent an unplanned pregnancy are being denied. Adolescents are often told that sex outside marriage is wrong,” he said.

He said that in 2013, Sierra Leone was ranked among the ten nations with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world with 28% of girls aged 15-19 years pregnant or already having had at least one birth.
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