WHO updates fact sheet on Family Planning/ Contraception (14 December 2016)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has updated its fact sheet on family planning/ contraception.

Background information:

Family planning allows people to attain their desired number of children and determine the spacing of pregnancies.

Benefits of family planning/ contraception:

  • Preventing pregnancy-related health risks in women
  • Reducing infant mortality
  • Helping to prevent HIV/AIDS
  • Empowering people and enhancing education
  • Reducing adolescent pregnancies
  • Slowing population growth


Key Messages:

Globally, use of modern contraception has risen slightly, from 54% in 1990 to 57.4% in 2015.

Regionally, the proportion of women aged 15–49 reporting use of a modern contraceptive method has risen minimally or plateaued between 2008 and 2015. In Africa it went from 23.6% to 28.5%, in Asia it has risen slightly from 60.9% to 61.8%, and in Latin America and the Caribbean it has remained stable at 66.7%.

Use of contraception by men makes up a relatively small subset of the above prevalence rates. The modern contraceptive methods for men are limited to male condoms and sterilization (vasectomy).

An estimated 225 million women in developing countries would like to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception. Reasons for this include:

  • limited choice of methods;
  • limited access to contraception, particularly among young people, poorer segments of populations, or unmarried people;
  • fear or experience of side-effects;
  • cultural or religious opposition;
  • poor quality of available services;
  • users and providers bias
  • gender-based barriers.

Some family planning methods, such as condoms, help prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Family planning / contraception reduces the need for abortion, especially unsafe abortion.

Family planning reinforces people’s rights to determine the number and spacing of their children.

By preventing unintended pregnancy, family planning /contraception prevents deaths of mothers and children.





Useful Links:

Link to the updated fact sheet (with more details on contraceptive methods):


Link to the WHO fact sheet on emergency contraception (updated February 2016):



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