Intended for healthcare professionals


Meeting an unmet need for family planning

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 19 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4160
  1. Gavin Yamey, lead, evidence to policy initiative1,
  2. Craig R Cohen, professor 2,
  3. Elizabeth A Bukusi, chief research officer and deputy director research and training3
  1. 1Global Health Group, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California
  3. 3Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
  1. yameyg{at}

Forthcoming summit will tackle questions of funding, service delivery, and monitoring

More than 120 million women worldwide aged 15-49 years have an unmet need for family planning,1 which is due a renaissance after years of neglect.2 On 11 July 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK government will co-host an international summit in London to shine a spotlight on the world’s massive unmet need for family planning. The summit hopes to catalyse a global movement to provide 120 million women in low income countries access to family planning by 2020. Achieving this target, which would bring vast public health benefits, will require new funding—no small order in a time of global fiscal constraint—combined with transformational cost effective approaches to increasing coverage.

Women in sub-Saharan Africa, about 35 million of whom cannot access or use family planning, and those living with HIV, have the greatest unmet need.1 3 In one Ugandan survey, three quarters of people infected with HIV (men and women) reported an unmet need for contraception, compared with a third of uninfected individuals (odds ratio 3.97, 95% confidence interval 1.97 to 8.03).3 Assuming a similar prevalence across the continent, we calculate that about 10 million HIV infected women in sub-Saharan Africa have an …

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