As activities beef up ahead of the 2018 international day of the woman, celebrated every March 8, the Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare , CAMNAFAW, Bertoua, has been drilling women on the use of contraceptives.
Meeting with women in Bertoua, CAMNAFAW told women that contraceptive use promotes health, saves lives and cost. According to the association, if women’s needs on contraceptives are met, there would be 373,000 fewer unwanted pregnancies each year, a decrease of 76 percent. Besides, unplanned births, abortions and miscarriages would be reduced and 1,300 fewer women would die.
Many studies on contraceptives’ use in Cameroon, reveal that, an estimated 782 women die from pregnancy or delivery-related causes per 100,000 live births. Consequently, 6,000 women die every year, many who had not wished to be pregnant, in the first place. Some of these studies, posits that, lack of access to quality family planning services expose women to unwanted pregnancies and risks of childbirth without adequate care.
The studies also indicate that the current contraceptive use in Cameroon is inadequate, with only 37 percent of the 2.3 million women of the reproductive age using modern contraception methods. Women in the northern region are more at risk as a result of cultural values that limit access to contraceptives, while low income women are at risk of unwanted pregnancies. Among the reasons for the non use of contraceptives are; concerns about side effects, the cost of family planning and lack of adequate trained health care personnel, among others.
It would be recalled that in 2013, there were an estimated 490,000 unwanted pregnancies, 80 percent of them not using contraceptives and 175,000 of the unintended pregnancies ended in abortions.
It is against these backdrop, that SRHR experts in the country are advocating for government to meet women’s needs for modern contraception. To them, achieving this, is central in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, improving maternal health, reducing child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS.