Publication Date
Publication Date: 
September 23, 2016

"For policy-makers and programme managers it is critical that their decisions are informed by important lessons that we can learn from history and knowledge of what opportunities the future holds."

Launched on World Contraception Day 2016, this series of 4 videos from the World Health Organization (WHO) explores the development of contraception and explain why it matters. Based on the conviction that contraception has diverse health and non-health benefits and is one of the best investments for women's, children's, and adolescents' health, the video series is intended as an educational advocacy product and also for programme managers and policymakers to reinforce their commitment to prioritise modern contraception programmes and research based on a better understanding of the history and future directions of family planning and contraception.

WHO explains that the updated Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health 2016-2030 was launched to help further the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that encompass many key aspects of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including access to contraception. However, over 200 million women worldwide would like to avoid a pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception. Reasons for this vary from each country but are related to a lack of supplies, cultural and political barriers, and poor quality of services.

The videos include:

  1. Why contraception - 9:03 - Narrated by Dr Christian Fiala, MD, PhD, Director of the Museum of Contraception and Abortion, Vienna, Austria, this film provides an overview of the origins, methods, social norms, attitudes, and politics of family planning and contraception and explains why safe and acceptable methods of contraception are important. The video highlights lessons that can be learned from the history of contraception by exploring the individual needs vs. programmes and ideologies, as well as men's options, choices, and responsibilities.
  2. WHO and the development of contraceptive methods - 6:44 - Dr. Ian Askew, Director, WHO, Reproductive Health and Research, or RHR (includes UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/ World Bank Special Programme - HRP) discusses RHR's mission and vision regarding contraception and family planning and contraception status and place in global perspective. The video highlights the importance of research and explains how WHO and HRP's evidence-based work guides countries as they seek to implement effective high-quality contraceptive programmes.
  3. The value of contraceptive research and development - 7:13 - Professor John Towsend, Vice President and Director of the Population Council Reproductive Health Program, discusses how developing safe, effective, and acceptable contraceptive methods can contribute to achieving the SDGs and reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. The film provides short- and long-term perspectives on the future of contraception and family planning in terms of opportunities, right to choices, benefits to users and health systems, and the demographic dividend.
  4. Youth and contraception - 7:31 - Medical student from Poland Michalina Drejza (also of the International Youth Alliance on Family Planning) talks about some of the challenges young people face and the importance of ensuring they have access to effective, high-quality contraceptive education, counselling, and services. She introduces short clips from young people from around the world talking about what they think is important in future thinking around the provision of contraception.

Posting by Åsa Cuzin to the IBP Consortium Knowledge Gateway, September 26 2016; and WHO website, October 19 2016. Image credit: Snip from video with Christian Fiala

See video