Access To Contraception Critical To Improving Maternal Health In India

The Wire: In India, Better Access to Contraception Is Key to Reducing Maternal Deaths
Ulla Müller, president and CEO of EngenderHealth, and Shumon Sengupta, Asia regional representative for EngenderHealth

“…It is essential to women’s health that they be able to control whether and when they get pregnant, and that means they need access to contraception. EngenderHealth has worked for almost 20 years to improve contraceptive and maternal health services in India. … As with all of its programs, the focus is on high-quality, rights-based, client-centered health care that puts women’s needs, values, and preferences first. So how can the national family planning program be strengthened to ensure that as many women as possible have access to life-saving contraception? These are what are seen as the chief priorities: Invest in provider training … Integrate family planning with maternal and child health services … Pay attention to the special needs of young people … Expand the method mix … Reach women where they are … India’s maternal death toll is a tragedy, but it’s a tragedy we can end. The evidence is abundant and clear: contraception saves lives. Let’s make sure every woman has access to it” (4/11).