PMA2020 surveys provide valuable new information on knowledge and use of emergency contraception. This issue brief analyses the levels of knowledge, use of, and access to EC in seven different African countries. Results show that knowledge of EC varies by country but that use remains low in all areas surveyed.
This section contains fact sheets, blog posts, technical statements, clinical guidelines, journal articles and publications focusing on policies and access. Several publications focus on sexual assault and humanitarian settings. For more information on specific themes, please visit the EC Issues Pages. Many of our publications are available in multiple languages.
Emergency contraception has been in use for decades and its safety is well established through monitoring and studies. This fact sheet, produced jointly with the World Health Organization, the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, is based on a thorough reading of the literature and extensive technical review by medical experts from around the world.
This article responds to analyses suggesting that EC is not as effective in reducing unwanted pregnancy rates at a population level as once hoped, and to the argument that women are “abusing” EC by using it repeatedly instead of using other more effective methods. The authors’ respond that EC still fills a unique and important role in the mix of available contraceptive methods, that it is effective enough to be promoted as a contraceptive option, and that women’s use of the method does not constitute a problem but rather contributes in a positive way to every woman’s challenge of how to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Authors: Francine Coeytaux, Elisa S. Wells, and Elizabeth Westley
Mexico was one of the earliest countries working to expand EC access. Partners came together to pursue a synergistic four-pronged strategy, including product registration, health care provider training and orientation, awareness raising among the general public, and policy change. By 2006, five EC products were registered and sold in Mexico, EC was widely available through pharmacies and included in the public sector contraceptive options, and knowledge of the method had increased substantially. Authors: Raffaela Schiavon and Elizabeth Westley
Although EC is safe and has the potential to prevent unwanted pregnancies, its use remains low in most settings, due to a range of barriers to access. This paper reviews key issues related to EC and describes recommendations reached during the Women’s Health Alliance pre-Congress workshop, held in advance of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) 2006 World Congress. The working group concluded that national societies of obstetrics and gynecology can play an important role in increasing access to this unique contraceptive method. Authors: Elizabeth Westley, Helena von Hertzen, and Anibal Faundes
This article reviews a comparison of women who enroll in emergency contraception (EC) trials with those who decline and seeks to understand why eligible women decline to participate. Data were collected from nearly 6,000 women seeking EC at three clinics in the USA and UK during a period of nearly 1 year (from September 1997 to August 1998). The study found that women in EC trials are likely to face higher pregnancy risk than the general population. Authors: Elizabeth Westley, Alison Bigrigg, Anne Webb, Sue Haskell, Kelly Blanchard, Becca Loftus-Granberg, Annik Sorhaindo, Karen Johnston, Aileen Spiers, Katrina Abuabara, Charlotte Ellertson
ICEC provides guidance for adapting materials, taking into account such issues as local culture, language and literacy levels; local misperceptions or misinformation about EC; products used and distribution mechanisms.
Consortium members developed a 9-step framework for introducing EC into national programs, describing a carefully planned process designed to be participatory and responsive to client needs.
Despite endorsements of EC by the World Health Organization and others, and greater worldwide availability of dedicated ECPs, women’s access to this contraceptive method remains limited. This Policy Statement describes the need for improved access, reviews barriers, and recommends steps to improve access.