Over 500K Liberian Women ‘Not Using Modern Method’ of Contraceptive — UNFPA


Monrovia – At least 31 percent of Liberian women, which is more than 500,000, are reported to not be using modern method of contraceptive.

Report by Alaskai Moore Johnson, [email protected]

This was disclosed Thursday, May 30, during anniversary celebrations of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which turned 25 & the United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA), which also turned 50. It also coincided with the launch of the State of World Population Report of 2019.

According to the UNFPA Liberia office, these women want to prevent pregnancy but are not using the modern methods to stop themselves getting “unwanted pregnancies.”

This United Nations’ specialized organ further disclosed only 21 percent of those women of reproductive ages (15 – 49) have access to modern methods of family planning.

They also sadly disclosed that everyday more than four women die from preventable causes during pregnancy and childbirth while some of those who survive are left with infections and insures including Obstetric Fistula.

These findings are made at the time when there are reports of sexual violation of girls, some of which are highlighted in the State of World Population Report 2019.

The 2019 State of the World Population Report reflects on the current state of sexual and reproductive health and rights 50 years after the UNFPA was established. 

The report offers a look at the key moments for sexual and reproductive rights across five decades, from the discovery of the HIV to the Commission on the Status of Women’s call to end child marriage. It highlights political changes around population policy, such a shift in focus from controlling population to expanding human rights and reproductive choices.

While progress has been made over the past five decades, “hundreds of millions of women today still face economic, social, institutional and other barriers that prevent them from making their own decisions about whether, when, how often and with whom to become pregnant.”

Making remarks at their 50th anniversary and launch of the Report, Dr. Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA Representative in Liberia, stated that by 1969, the world population reached 3.6 billion, up about 1 billion from only 17 years earlier. Fertility rates worldwide then were about double what they are today. “At that time there was population bomb fear and it was predicted that it will lead to mass starvation and a dying planet,” he added.

“It was in that context in 1969 that UNFPA was established to advise developing countries about the social and economic implications of population growth and to support national population programs, which began dispensing contraceptives on an unprecedented scale,” Dr. Ndyanabangi said.

The UNFPA Country Representative further stated that since its creation in 1969, UNFPA has led a multilateral effort to help women in developing countries navigate through an ever-changing landscape of barriers to their reproductive rights. “This effort gained new momentum and inspiration in 1994, when 179 governments gathered in Cairo, Egypt for the International Conference on Population and Development and forged a plan for sustainable development grounded in individual rights and choices and the achievement of sexual and reproductive health for all.

Also speaking, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Wetterqvist spoke about her government’s Feminist Foreign Policy, which speaks that equality between women and men is a fundamental aim of Swedish foreign policy.

Before she officially launched the 2019 Report, Vice-President Jewel Howard-Taylor, reminded the audience, including the development partners that the 2019 report shows that while much has been attained, much more remains to be done in fulfillment of UNFPA’s key role – “as the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.” 

“This agenda which stipulates the pursuit of rights and choices for all is ongoing, with new challenges emerging constantly. Some of these challenges are questions about what the future holds in terms of changes in population growth, contraceptive use, sexual and reproductive health and women’s rights and responsibilities. The answers and plans of action will be determined by not only the ability of women and girls to aspire to achieve their full potential as members of their societies; but will be determined by the National Political will of Leaders the World over and by how both Governments and Civil Society Actors consider the ICPD achievements and remain committed to addressing the shortfalls. Sadly, our Nation Liberia, is an example of the critical need for a strong political will across all sectors to implement programs previously committed to; especially for gender equity and the elimination of negative social customs such as FGM from our social spaces. It is my hope that the example as indicated will provide an added impetus to the UN Family to further engage and ensure that the commitments are realized and goals met.”