It has been a century since the first birth control activist bravely pioneered the way for women, following which she was convicted of being a public nuisance and forced to end services in the first birth-control clinic in the United States. Today we explore some of other interesting facts related to contraception which might provide some food for thought.

Margaret Sanger would have been a hero in modern days having devoted her life to legalising birth control and making it universally available for women. Unfortunately being born in 1879, Sanger came of age during the times of the Comstock Act, a federal statute that criminalised contraceptives and hence faced imprisonment for her what would have been noble work.

Her work, however, was not in vain as the contraceptive organisations she established evolved into Planned Parenthood, which is currently a leading reproductive health services provider, and Sanger remains the pioneer of initiation in making avail birth control methods to the public.

In addition to that living paradox, here are a some key facts about contraception:

Contraception in developing countries

1. According to the WHO, approximately 225 million women in developing countries have the intention and would prefer to postpone or indefinitely stop childbearing but fail to adhere to any form of contraception, due to restricted access, fear of being judged, and cultural expectations.

2. In Africa, there is an area of unmet need for introduction of modern contraceptive measures in 20% of women of reproductive age, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

3. Women in the world’s most under developed countries use contraceptives at the lowest rates, about two in five women, according to the UN supporting the stereotyped belief of less education translating into less self awareness and preventive care.

4. There are differing preferred methods of contraception specific to continents and it has been documented that female sterilisation is common in Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Northern America, while intrauterine devices are more popular in Asia and Europe. Universally, birth-control pills remain the most widely used method, according to the UN.

Although female sterilisation is permanent, it is popular

5. Surprisingly rates of male sterilisation fall behind those of female sterilisation, despite it being a less complex procedure with better safety profiles, according to the UN. The procedure stops fertilisation by closing or blocking the fallopian tubes. Still, there is a low risk of ectopic pregnancy after sterilisation.

6. Worldwide, surgical sterilisation remains as the most common form of contraception for women, practised by about one in five women of between 15 to 49 years, according to the UN.

Encouraging numbers but more room for growth worldwide

7. Close to 60% of females globally use some form of modern contraception, ranging from sterilisation to oral birth control pills, according to the same UN source. Withdrawal practices are not part of this method taken into account.

8. About 15 billion condoms are manufactured globally, to accommodate 750 million users, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2016, the United Nations has pushed for an increase of the world’s output to 20 billion condoms by 2020, serving as a big stimulus for the industry.

What about Malaysia and Singapore?

9. Only 22% of all women of reproductive age in Asia were using no or a less effective, traditional method of contraception, according to Guttmacher Institute. 77% of unplanned pregnancies stem from these women.

10. According to the United Nations Population Division's World Contraceptive Use, prevalence of Malaysian and Singaporean females between ages of 15-49 who use contraceptive measures are 51% and 65% respectively.

11. IMS reports showed that there was a 38% increase in the use of the morning-after pill in Malaysia from April to June 2016, compared to the same time period last year.

12. Moreover in Malaysia, 28.8% of 13,831 teenagers between the ages of 10 and 19 years have conceived children out of wedlock according to this year’s data by the Ministry of Health. MIMS

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