The World Health Organisation says access to quality contraceptive services and information should be treated as a human right.
Making the call on Thursday on the occasion of the World Contraceptive Day, the organisation said this would help individuals access the healthcare they need.
The World Contraceptive Day is held every September 26 since it was launched in 2007 to improve awareness of contraceptives and enable young people make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
In commemoration of this year’s event, WHO said in a statement that designing and delivering contraceptive information and services as a human right would help individuals receive health care that meet their needs.
“How healthcare providers and facility managers ensure that human rights aspects are integrated into services is a challenge with many dimensions, including the right of access to high-quality contraceptive services, autonomy and a choice of methods as well as the respectful provision of care.
“It is currently estimated that some 214 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception. This need is greatest among the most vulnerable and where the risks of maternal mortality are correspondingly highest,” it said.
The health body however expressed delight that provision of contraceptive services and programmes is growing.
The Nigerian government advocacy on the use of contraceptives among sexually active women to prevent unwanted pregnancy and abortion is beginning to yield positive results as records show that more women are embracing the method, experts say.
WHO stated five areas of competence needed by healthcare providers in ensuring human rights standards in administering contraceptives.
These are: Respecting users’ privacy and guaranteeing confidentiality; choice of contraceptive; fostering an accessible and acceptable service; involving users in improving services; and fostering continuity of care and follow-up to ensure efficacy.
Methods of family planning and contraceptives common in Nigeria
Probably the most common and easily accessible form of contraceptives. Condoms are the only type of contraceptives that can both prevent pregnancy and protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
There are two types of condoms: male condoms, worn on the penis; and female condoms, worn inside the vagina.
The oral contraceptive pill contains synthetic versions of one or both of the female sex hormones responsible for ovulation (production of an egg, or ovum).
The pill acts to suppress ovulation and causes changes to the uterus (womb) to prevent fertilisation and pregnancy. The pills are taken daily for three weeks, with a break in the fourth week for menstruation. You also have the option to go for a Progestin-only contraceptive pill (POPs)
Emergency contraceptive prevents pregnancy if you haven’t used contraception or think your usual method of contraception has failed.
Both types of emergency contraceptives are effective at preventing pregnancy if they are used soon after unprotected sex and has to be taken within 72 hours (three days) of sex.
The contraceptive injections, Depo-Provera and Noristerat, are usually given into a muscle in your bottom, although sometimes may be given in a muscle in your upper arm. It steadily releases the hormone progestogen into your bloodstream. Progestogen is similar to the natural hormone progesterone, which is released by a woman’s ovaries during her period.
Contraceptive implants (Jadelle, Implanon, Zarin)
The contraceptive implant is a small flexible tube about 40mm long that’s inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It is inserted by a trained professional, such as a doctor, and lasts for three years.
The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing progestogen into the body. Progestogen also thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to move through the cervix, and less likely for the womb to accept a fertilised egg.
Hormone-releasing intrauterine systems (IUS)
Also known as ‘the coil’, an IUS releases a progestogen hormone into the womb. This thickens the mucus from the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to move through and reach an egg. It also thins the womb lining so that it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg. It may also stop ovulation (the release of an egg) in some women.
The IUS is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. It works for five years or three years, depending on the type, so the user does not have to think about contraception every day or each time they have sex.
NOTE: Please seek advice from your doctor before considering any of these forms of contraception, in order to make the best decision for you.