Global health organisations have argued that sexually active adolescents and youth should have access to contraceptives as their “right”.
Representatives of the groups that included Marie Stopes International, Population Service International (PSI) and USAID argued that sexually active adolescents and youth aged between 10 and 24 should access contraceptives such as injectable family planning, coils and implants.
They said the family planning methods would not only prevent unwanted pregnancies until they finish school and gain employment but will also "often decrease menstrual flow and pain, can treat gynaecological conditions and reduction of anaemia".
Speaking in one of the side events during the 4th International Conference on Family Planning in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, one of the panellists, Prof Chittaranjan Narahari Purandare of the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, said "there is no medical reason to deny them (teenagers) access to contraceptives”.
He argued that countries have a responsibility to support, advocate and accelerate access to quality products and services for all regardless of their marital status.
Another panellist, Ms Monica Kerrigan of the Family Planning 2020, a consortium of family planning and reproductive health organisations, said it was sad that countries are ignoring the right of young people to information and ultimately on family planning.
“Young people are entering the reproductive age but they are faced with numerous barriers in accessing long acting reversible family planning methods, because it is assumed that it will make them to want to have sex? That is not true. Let them make their own decisions,” she said.
In the statement also signed by Pathfinder International, UK-AID, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning, the organisations said policymakers, ministry representatives, communities and families should have access to information on the “safety, effectiveness, reversibility and cost-effectiveness of contraceptives”.
During the opening ceremony of the forum on Monday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged an additional $120 million (Sh12.2 billion) over the next three years to improve access to modern contraceptive methods for 120 million more women and girls across 69 countries, including Kenya, by the year 2020.
The money will be used for family planning advocacy, improving family planning services in the private sector and expanding proven family planning interventions.