Today, the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) announced the released a new advocacy brief entitled “The Unfinished Agenda: Next Steps to Increase Access to Emergency Contraception". The brief presents a summary of data collected by ICEC and partners on global emergency contraceptive access, including country-level policies and practices, availability across sectors, and awareness of EC among women and providers. Overall, the data suggest that while the past twenty years have seen a dramatic increase in EC availability, access remains limited, especially in developing countries.
Based on ICEC's findings, the brief outlines eight priority areas for ongoing action:
- Disseminate accurate information about EC to dispel myths and misperceptions among policymakers, health care providers, and women and communities.
- Create supportive national policy environments for EC by allowing over-the-counter access, incorporating EC into family planning guidelines, and integrating EC into public sector health systems.
- Integrate EC into the family planning components of provider training, including pre-service training and ongoing professional development for pharmacists, doctors, nurses, mid-wives, and other providers.
- Increase EC awareness and demand among women and communities through behavior change communication activities and other community-based interventions.
- Provide EC in all instances of post-rape care by implementing and enforcing policies requiring EC counseling and provision to sexual assault survivors.
- Make EC routinely available in all crisis settings.
- Incorporate EC more fully into existing social marketing programs.
- Define and fill knowledge and research gaps on EC access.
Read the full brief here.