Bringing Contraception Closer to Rural Women in Malawi
Seventeen-year-old Sekani wakes up early in her rural Malawi village, and hopes her health center will have the oral contraceptive pills she uses. If it doesn’t, she will have missed a whole day of work on a farm and walked six hours for nothing. She’ll also risk getting pregnant the next time her boyfriend wants to have sex without a condom.
Sekani isn’t alone. More than 85% of Malawi’s population lives in rural areas, where unmet need for contraception is high. In rural areas, as of 2016, one in five married women (19%) and two in five sexually active unmarried women (40%) expressed a desire to delay, space, or limit births but reported they were not using contraception. Nearly a third of rural Malawian women and girls begin childbearing before age 20.
If Sekani had information about and closer access to a wider range of voluntary family planning methods that included long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), like implants or IUDs, she wouldn’t have to sacrifice her work day. Family planning methods like these can safely and effectively protect women and girls like Sekani from unintended pregnancy for years at a time.
- Health Care