Few things have a greater impact on a woman’s life than the number and spacing of her children. That’s why international agreements have affirmed repeatedly that individuals have the right to freely decide when (or if) to start a family and how many children to bear.

Yet many women still lack access to the quality services and supplies needed to manage their fertility. Fewer than 50 per cent of women in Eastern Europe and Central Asia use modern methods; in some countries, even fewer than 20 per cent. The main reasons: poor counseling, high costs, and lack of choice and unreliable supply of contraceptives.

Getting more women to use modern contraceptives saves lives and allows people to fulfill their potential. It helps bring down the number of unwanted pregnancies. It would reduce the region’s high abortion rates (there are an estimated 360,000 unsafe abortions annually in Eastern Europe alone). And it would slow down the rapid growth of the HIV epidemic (affecting 1.4 million people in the region, an increase of over 50 per cent since 2001).

This is what we do:

  • Train health workers to deliver quality family planning services
  • Support youth-friendly reproductive health care
  • Assist with the prevention of cervical cancer and infertility
  • Strengthen health sector responses to gender-based violence
  • Promote new approaches that ensure those in need have access to contraceptives
  • Strengthen procurement capacities for reproductive health supplies
  • Supply contraceptives in humanitarian emergency situations

In Central Asia in 2012, UNFPA helped procure contraceptives worth 863,144 couple-years of protection.

UNFPA is the lead United Nations agency for delivering a world where: