Is Contraception Still a Key to Global Development? A Response to C-FAM
A recent article by the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) highlights a recent event in which family planning experts stressed the importance of access to family planning as a key to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but highlighted the difficulties in providing more contraception access in a world that is nearing market saturation.
What C-FAM doesn’t highlight, however, is the fact that the while the proportion of those without genuine access to reproductive healthcare may be low, there is still opportunity for contraceptive innovations to penetrate the market and improve the quality of family planning to satisfy the needs of the 225 million women worldwide who cite an unmet need for contraception.
A report from the Guttmacher Institute shows that nearly half of these women have an unmet need because of perceived health risks or opposition to birth control, whether self-imposed or imposed by their communities. These reasons indeed do not reference a need for more contraception, but instead imply a need for higher quality solutions.
Hera Health Solutions’ development of the bioerodible contraceptive implant Eucontra shows immense promise in combating these unmet family planning needs.The side effects of an injection, one of the most popular long-term contraceptive solutions currently in use overseas, are mitigated by a slow release of the hormone that allows effective birth control over a longer time in a lower dosage; additionally, the risks involving the migration and removal of intrauterine devices and current subcutaneous implants may be eliminated, since a Eucontra implant would degrade as the hormone works over its lifespan. Finally, a subcutaneous implant that has no potential removal complications would be a wonderful solution to the issue of societal opposition of modern contraception, since it is discreet.
In short, C-FAM should look not at increasing the quantity of birth control on the market, but the quality of methods available. Thanks to the development of solutions like Eucontra, contraceptive needs in the developing world may become increasingly met in the coming years.