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Family planning: a collection of perspectives

Sierra Leone: Traditional birth attendant, Isatu Kargbo, examines a pregnant woman - Jenny Matthews | Panos Pictures

With the London Summit on Family Planning this Wednesday, we wanted to showcase some of the decisions and dilemmas people around the world face when it comes to sexual health and planning a family.

From South Asia to South America via Eastern Africa, we have gathered stories from from parents and parents-to-be, birth attendants, researchers and young people. These people often face tough choices, and sometimes no choice, often in places where giving birth is still fraught with danger – and where morality and tradition play a crucial role.

Love is not evil

At a time when many 15-25 year olds worldwide are at risk from HIV and other STIs there is a renewed emphasis on education. But in Uganda opinion is divided on whether the best message is to recommend young people abstain from sex or to give them contraceptive advice.

Moralising fails to curb teen pregnancies

Researchers have criticised the attitude of health service providers in Ecuador, saying their judgmental approach is compromising adolescent girls’ rights to sexual healthcare.

Hard labour: stopping HIV in its tracks

Uganda’s traditional birth attendants are trusted by women across the country to deliver their babies. With proper training, could they also help prevent mother to child transmission of HIV?

I waited for my death

Hundreds of thousands of women worldwide die as a result of childbirth each year. Millions more survive to tell the tale – and researchers believe that listening to the experiences of such women could help prevent future deaths in Uganda.

A tale of two births

Giving birth with the help of a skilled attendant is seen as the ideal but it is far from the reality for millions of Indian women.

Men welcome

Men have been sidelined from sexual and reproductive health services in Bangladesh for decades. Is it time for them to take a more active role?

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Rob Safar

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