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Keep Momentum Going To Pursue Innovation In Contraceptive Options

“[I]t has been a banner year for media attention, political will and global resources on family planning and women’s and girls’ rights and empowerment,” Ward Cates, president emeritus of FHI 360; Laneta Dorflinger, a scientist with FHI 360; and Kirsten Vogelsong, a senior program officer with the family planning division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, write in the Huffington Post “Global Motherhood” blog, noting the London Summit on Family Planning, World Contraception Day, and the inaugural International Day of the Girl Child. “To achieve the ambitious goals set forth by these international initiatives, however, the global health and development community must act on the current political momentum and not lose sight of the challenges that remain,” they state. Though there are “many contraceptive choices available to prevent unintended pregnancy,” access to contraception is limited for many women and “the currently available methods do not always meet their needs, preferences or budgets,” they write.

“Along with our current method mix, we need to consider new contraceptive approaches that address these concerns,” the authors state, continuing, “Adding new innovative methods to the current method mix and making them affordable and accessible in the poorest countries and settings will address many of the existing limitations.” Stating that “global investment required to support research and development for the next generation of contraceptives remains limited,” they conclude, “We must infuse the field of contraceptive research and development with the same focus that has been applied to other therapeutic areas. Let’s build on the recent family planning momentum and market-shaping mechanisms to ensure that all women are able to achieve their goals to plan their families and their futures” (11/2).