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10,000 unplanned pregnancies avoided

OVER 10,000 unplanned pregnancies were prevented in Zambia last year due to the use of modern methods of contraception, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said.
According to the United Nations (UN) agency, an additional 6,000 unsafe abortions were also averted due to the use of modern contraceptives.
This is according to the UNFPA Zambia annual report for 2017.
The report further states that last year, the number of additional users of modern methods of contraception increased by 77,000-from 304,000 in 2016 to 381,000.
“An additional 218 health care providers and managers acquired technical skills and capacities in the provision of long-acting reversible contraception to improve method mix in the country,” the report reads in part.
The UNFPA has continued to support women to enjoy the right to decide freely the number and spacing of their children, by sustaining collaborations with Government to further operationalise the National Family Planning Scale-Up plan (2013-2020).
“The plan aims to increase the national contraceptive prevalence from 33 percent to 58 percent and reduce unmet need for the family planning from 22 percent to 14 percent by 2020,” the report reads in part.
The report states that Zambia’s commitment to predictable multi-year investments in reproductive health commodities bridged financing gaps last year.
However, UNFPA is saddened that in rural areas, long distances to health facilities, socio-cultural barriers and the desire to have many children are some of the factors that prevent women from using family planning services.
“Although unmet need for contraceptives is declining at national level, the rates are relatively high in rural areas, at 24 percent compared to 17 percent in urban areas,” the report reads in part.
Additionally, 17,693 adolescents and young people were last year reached through 557 safe spaces, contributing to increased knowledge in Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE).
The report also indicates that seven out of 10 provinces in Zambia have the capacity to deliver quality youth-friendly health services that are aligned with international standards.