Saturday, November 5, 2016

DEAR DIARY: Let’s talk about contraceptives

Janet Otieno-Prosper

Janet Otieno-Prosper 

By Janet Otieno Prosper

Today we are focusing on reproductive health and choices we have to make. Well, there are a lot of theories around contraceptives so it is up to women to choose what is best for them.

There are also situations where women still get pregnant while on contraceptives so we are just going to look at everything and hear what experts have to say on the same.

We have heard from some married women that men make all decisions including on whether they should or should not be on contraceptives owing to certain cultural beliefs and religion. I know of a woman who was beaten by the husband when he found the pill in her handbag.

Contraceptive is one subject, which makes it hard for someone to pick a stronger ground to debate from since it is still deeply rooted in human evolution. But let’s just say that women should be allowed to make their own decisions about birth control.

Taking charge of their bodies gives them dignity. I know in some societies, birth control is a woman thing and men are not involved so the financial burden of procuring a contraceptive lie on the women.

However, there are some great men who walk their spouses through all the process and are always very supportive. May God bless them.

There are damning reports about pregnancy related deaths  like last year’s account by New York Times that 867 million women living in developing countries want to avoid becoming pregnant, but around 222 million of them have unmet contraceptive needs.

This is so sad since around 800 women die everyday due to pregnancy or childbirth related complications according to World Health Organization (WHO). This is the reality on the ground though considerable progress has been made in women’s sexual and reproductive health, including increases in contraceptive use over the last 25 years.

There are also well-documented reports revolving around women’s access to reproductive health services in Africa and beyond.

Even for those women who are insured by their companies, the cover usually excludes birth control so in the end women still pay more for contraceptives.

 It is even worse for women in low-income regions. All women deserve a wide range of contraceptives free of charge.