Contraception use sharply increased by five-fold in Ethiopia

Ethiopia has made a greatest stride in improving family planning and contraception services for all women since the last two decades.  According to the 2014 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey report, the use of contraception has been sharply increased by five-fold among currently married women. Health Extension program is the biggest facilitator for the success history, where 38,000 front line health extension workers based at 17,000 health posts bring education and contraceptive products and services to rural women across the country.

In 2000, only 8 percent of women were used any type contraception, however this number sharply increased to 42 percent in 2014. This great achievement is because of Health Extension Workers who have been continuously contributed to this success. This achievement indicates that providing contraception through health extension workers, who are able to effectively reach rural population in need of contraceptive counseling and services, is a strong step in the right direction to address the unmet need and improve maternal health throughout the country.

According to the study conducted by a group of researchers on trends of modern contraception among married women based on the 2000, 2005 and 2011 Ethiopian Demographic Health Survey, modern contraceptive prevalence increased from 6 percent in 2000 to 16 percent in 2005 and to 36 percent in 2011. The analysis indicated that 34 percent of the overall change in modern contraceptive use was due to difference in women’s characteristics. Changes in the composition of women’s characteristics according to age, educational status, religion, needs to have children, wealth and place of residence were the major source of  this increase according to the groups of researchers.

National and international non-governmental organizations such as USAID, CDC, Pathfinder International, Packard Foundation, DKT-Ethiopia and Family Guidance association of Ethiopia have been contributed a lot by financial and technical support to expand access to family planning and contraception services in the country.

The government have planned to increase the service to 66 percent and to reduce unmet need for family planning to 10 percent by the end of 2015. To reach this ambitious target, provision of Family Planning services at community level through the Health Extension Program in crucial. Health Extension Worker plays a vital role in providing door-to-door service at household level to reach the government’s objective.  They provide family planning packages including counselling and information related to family planning and contraception. They also distribute condoms, contraceptive pills, providing injectable and inserting Implanon ( a single rod implant) at the community and health post level across all region in the country.

By Tadesse Gedefa Mekonnen

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