July 9, 2018
50 years ago, family planning was declared a human right. Yet, 59 million people around the world still use traditional methods that are unreliable and may be unsafe. See some examples from UNFPA on Wednesday’s World Population Day
Fifty years ago, world leaders recognized family planning as a human right. Yet safe and reliable forms of contraception remain out of reach for hundreds of millions of people. UNFPA has collected dozens of examples of the ineffective – and even harmful – strategies people resort to while trying to prevent pregnancy, described in a new feature, “Unsafe, unreliable: Dangerous pregnancy prevention methods.”
These methods, often based on rumours and myths, range from damaging chemicals like disinfectants to household supplies like kitchen sponges. They include practices entirely without scientific merit, like jumping up and down after sex.
All of these methods can be harmful if users, lulled by a false sense of security, engage in unprotected sex.
Together, they highlight the urgent need to improve access to, and information about, modern, reliable family planning.
A right unrealized
This year, World Population Day, on 11 July, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Teheran Proclamation, which affirmed the right to family planning. On this day, UNFPA is also calling attention to people who are unable to realize this right.
In developing countries, an estimated 214 million women want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraceptive methods. This includes 155 million women using no family planning method at all. Some 59 million are using traditional methods that are unreliable and may be unsafe.
Through its work with health workers, young people and vulnerable populations, UNFPA staff have learned of some of the folk methods people resort to.