Monitoring and evaluation of family planning research is my core work. I am passionate about understanding the utilization and impact of research on changing policies, programs, and further research.
Right now, the research that I am focused on is developing new contraceptive methods, which is so important! Method-related reasons for non-use of family planning, such as fear of side effects and postpartum/breastfeeding, contribute to approximately 70% of unmet need. In other words, it is not just lack of access - women are choosing not to use contraception because they aren't comfortable with or can't use the options available to them.
For me, family planning is a women's rights issue. Women have the right to enjoy sex without fear. That is fear of violence, sexually transmitted infections, but most of all, fear of an unwanted or mistimed pregnancy. Women have the right to choose the timing and size of their family. Women and girls have the right to understand their bodies. And they have the right to control their bodies.
There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, of which only a few address sexual & reproductive health. With so many priorities, it is a challenge to keep family planning front and center. Universal access to family planning could have a huge impact. It could prevent 30% of maternal deaths and over 40% of newborn deaths. It has ripple effects across all of the SDGs. For every dollar spent on providing contraception to women who need it, there would be a benefit of $120 generated.
More excitement about and passion for family planning! Everyone will understand the importance of contraception. They will have positive experiences with their own contraceptive use. And they will not only be thankful for their personal experience, but they will be inspired and empowered to help others, in their own communities or the wider world, to access and use contraception in a way that is right for them.