World contraception day: 26 September

WCD takes place annually on September 26. This worldwide campaign centres on a vision for a world where every pregnancy is wanted. Launched in 2007, WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception to enable young people to make informed choices regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

South Africa is one of more than 70 countries participating in World Contraception Day 2013. In South Africa, WCD 2013 focuses on the need to encourage people to exercise their right to search for accurate, unbiased information about contraception and to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. It further aims to provide credible information on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) – because as much as unwanted pregnancies are very rife, so is the increased rate of preventable STDs.
Why is WCD important? The scale of the problem.
  • Worldwide, more than 41% of the 208 million pregnancies that occur each year are unplanned.
  • Unplanned pregnancies constitute a global problem associated with substantial costs to health and social services and emotional distress to women, their families and society.
  • Each year, up to 15 million adolescent females aged 15 – 19 give birth. In this age group, pregnancy related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for young women.
  • Each year, contraception prevents 188 million unplanned pregnancies which results in 112 million fewer abortions, 1.1 million fewer new-born deaths and 150 000 fewer maternal deaths.
  • If unmet need for contraception was fully satisfied, 53 million more unplanned pregnancies could be prevented every year.
So what are some of the talking points?

•    The importance of taking responsibility for your life (if you are having unprotected sex, pregnancy and STI’s are almost a given!).
•    The impact that an unplanned pregnancy has on the life of a teenager (usually the girl), parents (usually the parents end up having to support and raise a new, unplanned baby), future plans (education, career and ability to become financially independent) – and so much more!
•    Whose responsibility is it to initiate discussions on contraception with teenagers: parents, teachers, doctors, nurses?
•    The role and responsibility parents have in communicating with their teenagers about contraception.
•    Does talking to a teenager about contraception promote promiscuity?
•    Should contraception be discussed at school level?
•    Is it medically safe for teenagers to use contraception?
•    From what age is it considered medically safe to use contraception and what are the long-term consequences considering the many years girls may be using contraception?
•    What effect does contraception have on the sexual development of a girl?
•    What about boys – what responsibility to them have?
•    How should we educate and reach out to boys?
•    How do you talk to your partner about contraception?
•    When do you talk to your partner about contraception?
•    How does the menstrual cycle work?
•    Is it bad for me to not have a period as a result of the contraceptive method I am on?
•    What happens to the blood if I am not having a period?
•    When, during my menstrual cycle am I most likely to fall pregnant?
•    What about Sexually Transmitted Infections?
•    Do STI’s really disproportionately affect women and adolescent girls? And if so, why?

Local and International Support for World Contraception

  •  In South Africa, WCD is supported by Bayer Healthcare. The company has a strong background in Women’s Health and the company shares the vision of a world where every pregnancy is wanted. As a global leader in the field of Women’s Health, Bayer Healthcare has much to offer as a partner and in ensuring that this campaign has a real impact on the lives of individuals in South Africa. 
  • Around 70 countries are expected to participate in World Contraception Day.
  • WCD is supported globally by a coalition of 11 international NGOs and scientific and medical societies with an interest in sexual health including and is sponsored by Bayer Healthcare.

What resources are available?

• : a website aimed at educating teenagers and their parents about sexual health and contraception. Fun and funky, this website has been developed to provide a platform for teenagers and their parents to find information, find out what fellow South African’s have to say about contraception, , participate in the insightful “Youth Love” survey and participate in the interactive game “Sperm Invasion : Protecting your Eggs”. 

•    Medical Authorities and Opinion Leaders in the field of Female Health will be available for interviews and to discuss the many dilemmas parents and teenagers face when it comes to making decisions about contraception.

•    Youths and Teenagers who are willing to talk about their views and fears and who provide sometimes shocking but eye-opening insights into their thought processes and experiences around sex, contraception, pregnancy and where and who they turn to for advice. 

For media information or to arrange an interview with medical specialists, health advocates, support groups or patients please contact Oz Healthcare Communications on +27 11 465 5342, fax us on +27 11 465 2057 or call or email: Ilze van Heerden /+27 82 453 9737 or Lynne Zurnamer  / +27 82 448 3868

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