Clear wrong beliefs on birth control methods

OPINION |
Woman's hand holding birth control pills [Courtesy]

Myths and misconceptions passed on through social networks influence contraceptive use among young people.

They fear that a particular method would render them infertile, or reduce one’s childbearing capability, limiting the number of children they are able to conceive in their lifetime.

In many cases, this prevents them from using contraception.

Young people have a perception that condoms are not reliable for pregnancy prevention. They believe that it’s only meant to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Consequently, there is a myth that discomfort and irritation from the lubricant, may cause an infection.

Methods such as the coil or implant are seen as having the potential to harm one’s internal organs. Other myths and misconceptions are that the use of modern contraceptives encourages young women to become sexually promiscuous.

Moreover, male partners believe that use of modern contraceptives contributes to denying intimate partners their sexual freedom and regard them as an unnecessary burden.

Further, they believe contraceptives decrease sexual desires among women, which forces men into infidelity.

Condoms are the only dual protection methods. If worn and used correctly and consistently, they can prevent pregnancy 98 per cent. A coil is usually put in a woman’s uterus to prevent sperms from reaching the egg. Implants are inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. The process is reversible. 

There can be a lot of confusion regarding modern contraceptives and infertility. However, the only thing contraceptives are designed to do is temporarily delay fertility and prevent pregnancy, not cause infertility.

Contraceptive use is a key aspect in curbing rapid population growth. In 2015, the government reaffirmed its commitment to expand access to youth friendly services for adolescents and young people. 

Essentially, the government committed to improve access to contraceptive services with specific commitments aimed at finalising and disseminating the family planning national Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) of 2017-2020; strengthening national family planning programme as well as strengthen partnership with the private sector through a total market approach to increase private sector FP delivery contributions.

To curb the gaps in demystifying myths and misconception around contraceptives can be achieved by providing accurate information and services on a wide range of contraceptive methods to capture diverse needs of adolescents.

Everyone has a right to accurate information to enable access to contraceptives. In many communities, there is limited access to health services.  

Funding and proper implementation priority of contraceptives can make a difference in the lives of young people through prioritising their health needs, including family planning.

Miss Kathia is a sexual and reproductive health and rights advocate

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