News / Africa

US Promotes Postpartum Family Planning in Developing Countries

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) operates a postpartum family planning program in 15 Asian and African countries.The US Agency for International Development (USAID) operates a postpartum family planning program in 15 Asian and African countries.
x
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) operates a postpartum family planning program in 15 Asian and African countries.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) operates a postpartum family planning program in 15 Asian and African countries.
Marthe van der Wolf
A new roadmap to improve postpartum family planning was presented at the International Conference on Family planning this week in Ethiopia. 

Postpartum family planning focuses on providing different kinds of contraceptives for women after childbirth and during the first 12 months of motherhood. The aim is to prevent another pregnancy right away, since that can have a negative health impact on both mother and child.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) operates a postpartum family planning program in 15 Asian and African countries, including Ethiopia.

Postpartum family planning needs are often overlooked, says Koki Agarwal, director of the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program.

“If these women were not to use family planning, then they would have shortened birth intervals, which would mean higher risks of mortality for their child," Agarwal said. "So even 30 percent higher risks for children who were born when the intervals are less than three years. And also the mothers themselves cannot recover and have problems with anemia and ability to breastfeed their child, so the child does not get full nourishment.”

The roadmap presented at the conference outlines a tracking system of postpartum contraceptive use, easy-to-understand information materials for families, and recommended practices for health workers.  

While development agencies say postpartum family planning is of crucial importance, advocating it is not always easy.

Nurse Tigest Yigezu works for one of the 16 health centers in Ethiopia that have implemented the postpartum family planning program. She makes daily house visits to mothers who have just given birth, and tries to convince families to use contraceptives.

Yigezu says there are no problems convincing families of the short-term family planning contraceptive but that male partners often refuse long-term use. She says it is mostly a cultural and religious issue, as children are seen as a blessing for the family.

Research shows 95 percent of postpartum women around the world want to avoid another pregnancy for at least two years, yet 65 percent do not use contraception.

In Ethiopia, only 19 percent of women with newborn babies use contraceptives. Shashemene Hospital started postpartum family planning advocacy and free distribution of contraceptives last year.

Director Wihid Gebrehiwot says his hospital has helped just 245 women, due to capacity limitations.

“The hospital cannot have all this family planning services," he said. "Even the government cannot provide such amount of free postpartum family planning methods, especially the long-term family planning services. And if you do not have the materials and logistics at hand you can not do anything.”

Gebrehiwot says it is unclear how the free distribution of contraceptives can continue, if the Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program stops providing funding.

Ethiopia has met the Millennium Development Goal target on child survival by reducing its under-five mortality rate by 67 percent in the past two decades. More focus on postpartum family planning could further reduce the number of child deaths.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs