Skip to main content

You are here

Contraception: An Essential Part of Women's Health Care

09 Dec 2019

As part of our goal to reduce maternal mortality and suffering, we offer a range of contraception options to women at our projects all over the world. MSF midwife Liza Ramlow describes her experience working at MSF's project in the Central African Republic, where she says she saw a huge demand for contraception. Providing contraception helps prevent death and injury because it reduces the overall number of pregnancies, which can be dangerous for women with little access to health care, and it prevents unsafe abortions, another main cause of maternal mortality.


Super: Contraception is Essential

Super: For women in conflict or crisis situations, getting access to contraception can be extremely difficult.

MSF Midwife Liza Ramlow: I'm Liza Ramlow. I'm a midwife, and I've worked with MSF for nine years. I have the personal experience of having been in a project in Central African Republic, where conflicts would escalate and de-escalate. And women came to our project in surprising numbers, requesting contraceptive services. They had heard that we had the longer acting methods of contraception and came, I think, particularly for those.

Super: IUD, Ligation & Vasectomy, Oral, Injectable, Implant, Condom

Liza Ramlow: MSF offers, of course, a wide variety of contraceptive methods. Women need to be able to choose a method that suits them, that fits their particular circumstances; what kind of access to care they have, whether or not they want something that others will be able to detect their using. There are many considerations and we have to be able to provide whatever we can in the way of individualized care.

Super: If every woman had access to contraceptives maternal deaths could decrease by 25%

Liza Ramlow: Some of the most important impact that we can have on maternal mortality comes from prevention of pregnancy. Also, by preventing unwanted pregnancy, we can reduce the incidence of unsafe abortion. It was very exciting for us in Central African Republic to see how many women traveled good distances in order to obtain contraceptive services. And very sad when, because of an increase in conflict right in that little area, women stopped coming. They couldn't feel safe when guns were being fired. I felt sad because I thought to myself you know, so often women's needs get put on the back burner when the more dramatic needs of men are coming to the front burner. And I think that that was the truth of the situation as much as the violence was. Women wanting to go on with their lives and wanting to make things better for themselves and their families.