|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 60-61
World Health Organization introduces a new digital tool to address the unmet need for family planning among postpartum women
Saurabh R Shrivastava, Prateek S Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Web Publication||9-May-2016|
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Health Organization introduces a new digital tool to address the unmet need for family planning among postpartum women. Sifa Med J 2016;3:60-1
|How to cite this URL:|
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. World Health Organization introduces a new digital tool to address the unmet need for family planning among postpartum women. Sifa Med J [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Aug 24];3:60-1. Available from: http://www.imjsu.org/text.asp?2016/3/2/60/182007
Family planning is a tool to allow people to achieve their completion of family and even determine the spacing between children through the use of various contraceptive methods.  However, the recent estimates suggest that almost 225 million women from the developing nations, despite having the desire to delay or stop childbearing, are not using any contraceptives.  Further, the postpartum period for women accounts for the highest unmet need for family planning, and yet they have no access to the needed services.  In fact, the findings of a study from multiple nations suggest that close to 60% of the postpartum women had an unmet need for family planning. ,
Postpartum women refer to those women who have delivered a child in the last 0-11 month period.  Even though, it is immensely possible for a postpartum woman to become pregnant 4 weeks after childbirth (especially, those women who are not breastfeeding), till date, no user-friendly guideline is available to empower women to make a safe and informed choice pertaining to the adoption of a contraceptive method. ,, Further, a wide range of reasons like limited choice of methods, poor accessibility (in young people, poor socioeconomic class, and unmarried women), fear or experience of adverse effects, sociocultural barriers, poor quality of available services, less sensitive health professionals, and gender-based barriers have aggravated the problem of unmet need. ,,
Acknowledging the dearth of quality assured services and the high prevalence of unmet need among the women in the postpartum period, the World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a new digital tool to assist women in accessing and selecting safe contraceptive measures in the postpartum period, irrespective of whether they are breastfeeding or not.  This user-friendly digital tool assists the health professionals in promptly accessing the WHO recommendations, so that appropriate contraceptive measures can be offered to the postpartum women.  In addition, there is a provision to select the contraceptive tool based on the health condition (viz., coexisting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, human immunodeficiency virus infection, hypertension, etc.) and drug interactions (like anticonvulsants, antimicrobial, and antiretroviral drugs). 
The ultimate target of the digital tool is to assist the health care providers in being well-informed to guide the postpartum women in offering the contraception, and at the same time provide enough evidence to the program managers to make arrangements for ensuring the availability of preferred contraceptive methods. ,, Thus, it eventually aims to offer family planning services within the postpartum period to reinforce the women's right to prevent closely-spaced and unintended pregnancies, avoid the risks of unsafe abortion, and to prevent mortality of mothers/children. , Presently, this digital tool is available in English language and can be used in all computers, including mobile devices and tablets, nevertheless, there is a definitive plan to translate the application into different languages for enhancing its application worldwide. 
To conclude, the digital tool offers a great opportunity for the health professionals working in heterogeneous settings to reduce the unmet need for family planning and, hence, minimize suffering and associated morbidity and mortality, and thus, improve the quality of life of the postpartum women.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Rossier C, Bradley SE, Ross J, Winfrey W. Reassessing unmet need for family planning in the postpartum period. Stud Fam Plann 2015;46:355-67.
Pasha O, Goudar SS, Patel A, Garces A, Esamai F, Chomba E, et al
. Postpartum contraceptive use and unmet need for family planning in five low-income countries. Reprod Health 2015;12(Suppl 2):S11.
Cleland J, Shah IH, Benova L. A fresh look at the level of unmet need for family planning in the postpartum period, its causes and program implications. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health 2015;41:155-62.