A new report says low levels of modern contraceptive use and high rates of unintended pregnancy are taking a toll on Burkinabe women, their families and the country’s health care system.
The report, Benefits of Meeting the Contraceptive Needs in Burkina Faso, documents the current state of family planning in the country and the considerable health and financial benefits that it said would result from increased investment in contraceptive services.
Ouedraogo Boureihiman, executive director of the Family Planning Association of Burkina Faso, said the lack of contraception is just one of the reasons behind Burkina Faso’s high rate of unintended pregnancies.
“The lack of contraceptives, and also the culture, is not favorable for use of contraceptives. The women and the men and their religion are not favorable for contraceptives,” he said.
A news release from the Guttmacher Institute, which co-authored the report, said about 64 percent of Burkinabe women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using any contraceptive method or are using less effective traditional methods.
It said one-third of all pregnancies in Burkina Faso are unintended and that an estimated 87,000 Burkinabe women who experience an unintended pregnancy have a clandestine, typically unsafe, abortion.
Boureihiman said both married and unmarried women have been affected by the lack of contraception.
“The young girls, because of unwanted pregnancy, they are not able to complete their study. Married women, when there are many children, they are not able to do economic activity,” Boureihiman said.
The report said meeting women’s need for modern contraceptives and reducing unintended pregnancies would save money immediately by reducing spending on maternal and newborn health costs.
Boureihiman said the Burkinabe government is doing all it can to help the situation, but more help is needed.
“The government is doing its best because, now in the government budget, the government has put money for buying contraceptive, but it is not sufficient,” Boureihiman said.
He said his organization, the Family Planning Association of Burkina Faso, has been leading the effort to educate both rural women to use contraceptives.
“My organization works in rural areas. What we do is educate them and make contraceptives available to them. But, we are limited because the money is not enough to give satisfaction to [the] needs of all those women,” Boureihiman said.
He said the high rate of unintended pregnancies is higher in rural Burkina Faso than in the city.
“In the rural area, the average is around six children per woman but, in town [the city], the average is around three or four [children per woman],” Boureihiman said.
He said the Family Planning Association of Burkina Faso is involved in an advocacy campaign for additional funding.