News story

New contraception drive will save women's lives

The UK will help save thousands of lives and avert nearly 220,000 unsafe abortions by providing much needed contraceptive supplies

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Saving thousands more lives by reducing the cost of contraceptives 

This week the pharmaceutical company Bayer HealthCare, a member of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, has announced that it will reduce the price of its five year contraceptive implant, Jadelle(C). The UK’s increased support to the United Nations Population Fund earlier this month, has helped make this possible and save thousands more women’s lives.

The cost of the contraceptive implant Jadelle(C) will be reduced from US$21 to US$19.50. And, in a move designed to encourage more reliable, timely procurement, Bayer will reduce its price even further - to US$19 - on large orders with longer lead times. 

Just these cost savings alone, over the next four years, would meet the contraceptive needs of half a million women who view Jadelle(C) as their method of choice – and in so doing, avert more than 550,000 unwanted pregnancies, 255,000 abortions, 1,000 maternal deaths, and 6,000 newborn deaths. 

Reducing the price of contraceptives is vital in working towards the goal of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition’s Hand to Hand campaign to reach 100 million additional users of modern contraception in low and middle income countries by 2015.  The UK government is playing a leading role in the Coalition. 

29 November 2011
New contraception drive will save women’s lives

Britain will save the lives of thousands of women by providing urgently needed contraceptive supplies, Development Minister Stephen O’Brien announced today at the International Conference on Family Planning in Senegal.  

Britain’s support with these contraceptives will prevent more than 2 million unintended pregnancies and avert nearly 220,000 unsafe abortions, many of which result in life-threatening complications such as bleeding and organ damage.

Stephen O’Brien said the funding for the UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA) will provide at least 1.6 million implants for women across the developing world so they can decide for themselves whether, when and how many children to have.

It will ensure women in countries such as Mali, where the prevalence of contraception is only 8% compared with 82% in Britain, receive implants, which are long-acting but reversible methods of birth control.

In addition, Britain is backing a rapid response-style unit which will procure and deliver up to 6 months worth of contraceptive supplies to countries where stocks are running out to give local providers an opportunity to find lasting solutions.

Speaking at the International Conference on Family Planning in Dakar, Senegal, International Development Minister Stephen O’Brien said:

Millions of unintended pregnancies occur every year because 215 million women who desperately want to delay or avoid pregnancy are unable to do so.

For many, this amounts to a death sentence with a woman dying in pregnancy or childbirth every two minutes - 99% of them in the developing world.

Giving girls and women the choice to decide whether, when and how many children they have is a priority for Britain. It means fewer women die in childbirth and the poorest families can make what little they have go further.

Family planning is a smart, simple and extremely cost effective investment of aid. It is at the centre of all our development work and we are going to ensure more women are given the choices they want and deserve.

Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin said:

UNFPA is grateful for the new commitment by the British Government to increase access to reproductive health services, especially voluntary family planning, worldwide.

This generous contribution will go a long way towards saving the lives of women and children, as well as to strengthening health systems and reducing poverty. It also demonstrates the British Government’s dedication to helping women and young people to forge a brighter future for themselves, their communities and nations.

British support to UNFPA is part of Britain’s commitment to enable at least 10 million more women and girls to use modern methods of family planning by 2015 to reduce the unmet need for family planning.

Britain’s overall commitment to maternal health will directly contribute to preventing more than 5 million unintended pregnancies and to saving the lives of at least 50,000 women during pregnancy and childbirth and 250,000 newborns by 2015.

Increasing access to quality family planning information, services and supplies directly helps girls and women delay their first pregnancy. Preventing pregnancy in young adolescents makes a particularly significant difference to girls’ life chances - allowing them to stay in school and complete their education.

Read the full press release

Updates to this page

Published 22 December 2011