In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), access to family planning services remains difficult, especially for adolescents and young adults. Consequently, unwanted pregnancies and clandestine abortions constitute a major public health problem in the country. A December 2019 review of reproductive health access and barriers paints the picture: most pregnancies in the DRC are unintended; without access to safe abortion, post abortion complications are common; and obstacles to getting care mean that even life-threatening complications often go untreated.
The best way to lower the number of unintended pregnancies is to increase the availability and use of contraceptives. The same 2019 report discusses how providing clear information is a key part of the puzzle: not only is understanding contraceptive options necessary for each individual to make informed choices, widespread awareness of birth control methods helps generate the demand for accessible and higher quality services on a broader level. Increasingly, digital solutions exist to facilitate access to quality family planning information and services yet government, health providers, and advocacy groups are often not aware of them.
Over the past year, Hesperian has been collaborating with journalists in the DRC to share information about sexual and reproductive health and Hesperian’s apps in French. If you speak French, join us this Saturday, August 28th, for the first PF-MeetUp, an exchange organized by the Network of Journalists in Sexual and Reproductive Health from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Hesperian Health Guides. Expect 2 hours of engaged conversation around the promotion of digital tools facilitating family planning solutions in the DRC. Note that the event is midday in the DRC timezone so if you aren’t able to attend live—don’t worry, a recording of the webinar will be shared on our social media!