Expanding Access to Emergency Contraception in Developing Countries

Emergency contraception has been called the best-kept contraceptive secret. Previous research shows that several regimens of postcoital contraception offer safe and effective ways for women to avoid pregnancy. Yet the methods are typically unavailable to women in developing countries. In this article, the authors review the main methods of emergency contraception and describe experience with them to date. The prevalence and urgency of the need for making these methods available to women in developing countries are assessed. The necessary elements for creating such access are described. In several developing countries, conditions for introducing the methods may be more favourable than in industrialized countries. These advantages are reviewed. Finally, the authors describe the challenges anticipated for broadening the availability of postcoital methods in the developing world. They conclude with a brief series of recommendations for policymakers

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