Thandeka Moyo, Health Reporter
ONLY 60 percent of Zimbabwean women have the ability to make decisions about contraception and safer sex negotiations, a report from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2019 State of World Population shows.
According to the report which was released last Tuesday, a survey across 51 countries where this information is available concluded that an aggregate of 57 percent of women who are married or in a relationship are able to make their own choices on their reproductive health rights.
The UNFPA report published for the first time data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas: sexual intercourse with their partner, contraception use and health care. “Only 60 percent of women have decision making ability on sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights. The country however, has a 66 percent prevalence of family planning which is higher than most countries where women still have no access to any method,” read the report.
UNFPA executive director Dr Natalia Kanen said despite some gains, vast numbers of women around the world are not empowered to make fundamental decisions about their own bodies.
“We still have a long way to go before all women and girls have the power and the means to govern their own bodies and make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health,” she said.
“The efforts of the reproductive rights movements have dramatically reduced the number of unintended pregnancies and maternal deaths, and have cleared the way for healthier, more productive lives for untold millions”.
The report shows that 200 million women worldwide who want to prevent a pregnancy do not have access to contraceptives.
“Gaps in access to sexual and reproductive health services also disproportionately impact marginalised groups. For example, women and girls with disabilities are often not seen as needing information about sexual and reproductive health. Only 35 percent of young people with disabilities used contraceptives during their first sexual encounter and 63 percent had an unplanned pregnancy,” read the report. – @thamamoe