Step UP Strengthening evidence for programming on unintended pregnancy

STRENGTHENING EVIDENCE FOR PROGRAMMING ON UNINTENDED PREGNANCY

Establishing networks, cultivating partnerships

Partnerships and networking are integral to achieving STEP UP’s desired outcomes of reaching broader audiences with evidence and for facilitating institutionalization and scaling up of interventions. STEP UP undertakes several collaborative and networking activities with key partners, and continually forms new partnerships with organizations and networks:

    • STEP UP staff participates as resource persons in several expert group meetings with WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) and participate in WHO/RHR’s Research Project Review Panel.
    • STEP UP actively participates in FIGO’s “Prevention of Unsafe Abortion” initiative through technical assistance to support the design and implementation of country action plans in Kenya and Ghana.
    • LSHTM, PC and the Guttmacher Institute implement the DFID-funded 'EVA-PMDUP' consortium to evaluate the DFID-supported "Prevention of Maternal Deaths from Unwanted Pregnancy" (PMDUP) programme in India, Malawi, Pakistan and Zambia.
    • STEP UP has a close relationship with the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition, with staff actively participating in its Market Development Approaches Working Group and Advocacy & Accountability Working Group, as well as the Caucus on New and Underused RH technologies and the newly-formed Forum SECONAF (La Sécurité Contraceptive en Afrique Francophone).

 

Sharing the evidence

In order to make partnership development and the networking process more meaningful and fruitful, STEP UP also has a strong focus on the communication of research evidence. This communication process is designed to ensure that research products are freely accessible through public domain channels, that key decision-makers and other stakeholders are reached through active engagement processes, and that STEP UP evidence is cited in published papers and reports so that it productively informs and progresses the fields of research with which it engages. STEP UP seeks to ensure that its reports, articles, presentations, and data sets are widely available to researchers, policymakers, and programme staff worldwide.

 

What's New

New journal article: Despite the steep increase in contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in Bangladesh since 1975, nearly a third of pregnancies are still unintended. This literature review -- Contraceptive practices among married women of reproductive age in Bangladesh: a review of the evidence -- examined contraceptive use among married women of reproductive age in Bangladesh and found that method discontinuation and switching, method failure, and method mix may be offsetting achievements in the CPR. The article concludes that government and independent bodies must renew their commitment to implement and monitor family planning strategies as a means to ensuring adherence to and provision of the most appropriate contraceptive method for couples.

New journal article: This article, The Challenges Posed by Demographic Change in sub-Saharan Africa: A Concise Overview, presents a regional overview of some of the main challenges posed by the huge demographic change sub-Saharan Africa has undergone in the twenty-first century (and will experience going forward). According to the UN Population Division, 35 years from now the population of Africa will be around 22 percent of the global total. The way that associated challenges are faced may have high stakes both regionally and globally. This article examines challenges of pressure on health and education provision, food security and agriculture, urban living conditions, employment and livelihoods, and intra-regional migration.

New research report: In Bangladesh, early marriage and childbearing have led to an adolescent fertility rate that is among the highest in the world. This study, Expanding access to integrated family planning intervention packages for married adolescent girls in urban slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh, implemented and evaluated the efficacy of three interventions on reducing unintended pregnancy and unmet need for FP among married adolescent girls in Dhaka slums: (1) formation of a married adolescent girls’ club, (2) strengthening brac community health volunteer (Shyastha Shebika) activities on family planning counselling, and 3) involving government marriage registrars (Kazis) in FP service promotion. The girls’ clubs were strongly well-received and were effective in enhancing knowledge and support throughout the community on issues of unintended pregnancy and FP. Both the girls’ groups as well as the activities of Shyastha Shebikas were seen to significantly increase contraceptive uptake, and were mutually reinforcing of one another’s activities.

New Evidence brief: In Senegal, abortion is illegal unless the life of the mother is endangered. For the past several years there has been increasing public discussion and advocacy surrounding the question of revising this law. Yet throughout this process, the voices of women who experience unintended pregnancy following rape or incest have not been heard. This Evidence Brief -- L’expérience de femmes ayant subi une grossesse non désirée au Sénégal: Une étude qualitative -- summarizes a study that documented the experiences of some of these women as a way of adding their voices to the discussion and to offer evidence in advocacy for revision of the law.

STEP UP extended for two years: We are pleased to announce that DFID has approved a two-year extension of the STEP UP RPC. During this period, our focal activities will include work on the measurement of unintended pregnancy, education sector responses to early and unintended pregnancy, and access to menstrual regulation and post-abortion contraceptive services. In addition, the RPC's efforts will reflect an increased emphasis on facilitating the uptake of the evidence generated by the program over the past six years.

Activity update on supporting girls’ re-entry into school after pregnancy in Kenya: Schools have a key role to play in both enabling adolescents to prevent unintended pregnancy as well as supporting their re-entry into school after giving birth. An interview with STEP UP researcher Chi-Chi Undie was recently published by Newsdeeply in which she discusses STEP UP research on adolescent pregnancy and school re-entry in Homa Bay and a related proposed bill currently being debated in parliament in Kenya, the Care and Protection of Child and Parents Bill. Chi also tackles the question of what needs to come first when seeking to improve girls’ learning achievement in areas where dropout rates are high in this blog post—Is girls’ enrolment the chicken or the egg?—on the UNESCO IIEP Learning Portal.