Recently, many of the young girls and women in the Borough of New Kru Town (NKT) received free family planning pills provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and its partners, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), BRAC, an international nongovernmental organization working on health in Liberia, and Planned Parenthood Association of Liberia (PPAL).
Other partners that formed part of the free distribution of contraceptives exercise are Clinton Health Access Initiative and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Deliver project.
The free family contraceptive service is intended to ensure that girls of school going age prevent themselves from getting pregnant, while too young to becoming mothers.
The service was provided at a program marking the launch of “Family Planning Week” – which will run from October 14 to 17— highlighting how widespread unintended pregnancies are, not just in low-income countries but in the developed world as well.
World Contraceptive Day is an annual event with the slogan, “Baby by Choice, and not by Chance.”
Madam Sarah Layweh, Coordinator of Family at MOH, who spoke on behalf of the Ministry, expressed her gratitude to the girls who turned out for the awareness program.
She said the exercise is a worldwide campaign with a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted, adding, “Every year, about 80 million women worldwide have unintended pregnancies and 20 million women risk abortion, where over 60 (%) of them will die.”
World Contraceptive Day, she said, “encourages all young people, and particularly young women, to make the most of opportunities they have and to live a self-determined life.”
The campaign is a long-term, multinational initiative that is supported by a coalition of 10 international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and scientific and medical societies with an interest in sexual health.
The celebration, Layweh added, is also “an intervention that recognizes that family planning significantly contributes to improving the lives of women and girls as stipulated by the Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, which the government of Liberia through the Ministry of Health is committed to ensuring access to family planning utilization among its citizenry, and particularly young people.”
For his part, UNFPA assistant representative, Philaderald Pratt, assured the beneficiaries of the worldwide agency’s commitment to continue the services.