By: Yousra Yusuf, Women Deliver
Today, at least 222 million women worldwide have an unmet need for modern contraceptives. Family planning is a proven life-saving solution with the power to avert 70% of maternal deaths, yet many people around the world do not have access to the contraceptive information and services they need. This past year in Jordan, the USAID-SHOPS national media campaign was introduced to increase oral contraceptive use among women. The campaign has already seen promising results—there has been a 33% country-wide increase in oral contraceptive pill sales.
These results are especially promising for Jordan, where modern contraceptive prevalence rates have not changed significantly in the past ten years. Twelve percent of Jordanians currently have an unmet need for family planning services, although significant disparities exist between contraceptive use in rural (36%) and urban (43%) areas, and between women with no education (24%) and women with a secondary education and higher (41%). Across the country, about 42% of married women use modern contraceptive methods and 17% use traditional methods. Only 8% of married women use oral contraceptives. To encourage more Jordanians to use modern family planning services, USAID has implemented the Strengthening Family Planning (Ta’ziz Tanzim al Usra) project in collaboration with the Jordan Association of Family Planning and Protection (JAFPP) and the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA).
The program has a multifaceted approach, including increased community outreach and access to family planning clinics, and awareness-raising through a country-wide social-media campaign. The 12- week marketing campaign used print and wireless media, newspapers, radio, and television to promote oral contraceptives as safe and effective methods of family planning. The campaign featured physicians as speakers on radio and television programs, especially ones popular among female audiences, touting the advantages and safety of oral contraceptives. Information was also distributed to 1,425 pharmacies and 160 private clinics.
The positive results of the campaign exceeded initial expectations. In a survey administered after the media campaign, 75% of women remembered the advertisements— higher than the expected 63%. More year-on-year oral contraceptive pills sales were recorded by pharmacies from April-May 2012, corresponding with the peak of the campaign. Based on the campaign’s demonstrated success, it is expected to be adopted for a second phase.
Every two minutes, a woman dies of pregnancy-related complications, one of which is unsafe abortion. Using family planning methods improves women’s decision-making power, and ultimately results in healthier mothers and babies in Jordan and worldwide.
To read more about the campaign, click here.
Flickr photograph via khawaja