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Keywords:

  • contraception;
  • female sterilization;
  • implants;
  • international family planning;
  • IUDs;
  • reproductive health;
  • vasectomy;
  • WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria

Recent scientific findings about long-acting and permanent methods of contraception underscore their safety, effectiveness, and wide eligibility for individuals who desire them. This has led to new guidance from the World Health Organization to inform national policies, guidelines, and standards for service delivery. Although developing countries have made much progress in expanding the availability and use of family planning services, the need for effective contraception in general (and long-acting and permanent methods in particular) is large and growing because the largest cohorts in human history are entering their reproductive years. More than half a billion people will use contraception in developing countries (excluding China) by 2015, an increase of 200 million over levels of use in 2000. The health, development, and equity rationales that historically have underpinned and energized the international family planning effort remain valid and relevant today. Despite the other compelling challenges faced by the international health community, the need to make family planning services more widely available is pressing and should remain a priority.