Meeting the need: youth and family planning in sub-Saharan Africa


Background: The need for a concerted effort to address the gaps in family planning services for youth in sub-Saharan Africa has been underreported and underexplored.

Study Design: Trends in fertility, childbearing, unmet need for family planning options and contraceptive prevalence (CP) among youth are described with data from six African countries with four consecutive Demographic and Health Surveys. Estimates of exposure to risk of pregnancy and number of new contraceptives users needed to maintain and double CP in 2015 are calculated using current CP and projected youth population size in six African countries.

Results: The youth population is expected to range from approximately 3 to 35 million in six African countries by 2015. Accounting for population growth and current estimates of sexual activity among youth, family planning services will need to absorb more than 800,000 and 11.3 million new contraceptive users total to maintain and double CP, respectively, in 2015 in those six African countries alone.

Conclusion: Our findings support existing literature that calls for a reorientation of family planning policies and programs, especially improved access to modem contraceptive methods among African youth.

Published in Contraception 2013: 88(1), 83-90.

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Ndola Prata
Amita Sreenevas
Publication date: 
November 23, 2012
Publication type: 
Journal Article