Discuss contraception openly


WITH cultural barrier, the word contraception is often brushed aside when it comes to talking about basic health services.
Contraception, also known as birth control or fertility control, is a method or device used to prevent pregnancy.
A recent PNG Institute of Medical Research survey found that some 35 per cent of more than 6,000 women need contraception but do have access to it.
The study through the comprehensive health and epidemiological surveillance system led by Dr Bang Pham, revealed that 49 per cent of the women wanted to delay their pregnancy and 51 per cent did not want to have any more children. The women surveyed were between 15 and 49.
Rather than wait only for the World Contraception Day on Sept 26 to raise awareness, contraception should be openly discussed not only at mothers and baby clinics but on all front of the health sector.
Women need to be made aware of all contraceptive methods available that will enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health.
Such barriers prevent the women from accessing contraception and comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) are increasing unplanned pregnancies.
Family planning must be promoted always – and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples – which is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women, while supporting the health and development of communities.
It is perfect timing to raise awareness as our country’s population is growing at an alarming rate which some say is already putting a strain on the Government in terms of providing basic services.
Papua New Guinea’s population is increasing at the rate of three per cent per annum; the total fertility rate is still more than 4 per cent (i.e. women are on average having more than four children each).
This has the effect of doubling our population every generation (25-27 years), and means that the age structure of our population is such that more than half the population is less than 18 years old.
It is time to help raise awareness of women’s right to choose when or how many children they want to have.
Having fewer children can help break the cycle of poverty, and puts families, communities, and countries on a stronger, more prosperous and sustainable path.
Women have used birth control methods for thousands years, both traditional and modern, to reduce the risk of pregnancy and encourage birth spacing.
Today we have safer and effective birth control methods available to women, and men.
All of us want to find the best method that is good for us and each of us has different needs when choosing a method that is most suitable.
Again, everything falls back to education, not just any education, but quality education in both urban and rural schools.
Quality education includes outcomes that encompass knowledge, skills and attitudes, and are linked to national goals for education and positive participation in society.
Unless the young population are educated to a standard to understand the advantages and disadvantages of having children very early in life, the population of PNG will continue to increase at an alarming rate.
Blocking access to contraception and comprehensive sex education increases the chance that young women will experience an unplanned pregnancy, often derailing their hopes and dreams for the future.
The impact of this is devastating.
Government policies should support the availability and use of family planning services.