Improving Attitudes toward Modern Contraceptives: Healthy Women of Ukraine

Ukraine has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates and one of the highest abortion rates.

healthywomenukraineThe cause of abortion is clear: the intersection of low desired fertility and the non-use, ineffective use, and inappropriate use of modern contraception. Myths and misinformation are major barriers to modern contraceptive use. “Hormone phobia” is particularly prevalent, with many women afraid to use hormonal methods; misinformation about intrauterine devices (IUDs) is widespread.

Only 3.7% of Ukrainian women of reproductive age use contraceptive pills and 12.1% use IUDs. The number of abortions per 1,000 live births in Ukraine in 2008 was 400 compared to 238 for European countries.

JSI’s Healthy Women of Ukraine Program (HWUP), the subject of the latest “Spotlight”on the Health COMpass, designed as a a five-year family planning and reproductive health program (2011-2016), developed the first national, multi-stakeholder FP communication strategy to increase positive attitudes and expand the use of modern contraceptives as an alternative to unintended pregnancy and associated abortion.

Previous efforts by government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to change family planning attitudes and behaviors among women of reproductive age and their partners lacked coordination and a national approach. JSI developed the national communication strategy as a joint action plan for government (national and regional), donors, NGOs, and other stakeholders to reach audiences with key family planning messages.

Using jointly developed messages and one logo, the strategy partners agreed to use and promote the same national communication channels (e.g. website, hotline, social media, TV/radio, outdoor advertising, SBCC materials, training modules). Oblast governments developed complementary regional-level strategies, which increased reach among target audiences and bolstered local ownership and sustainability.

To read more about the development, implementation, and evaluation of this program, check out the latest Spotlight, The Future is Worth Planning: Healthy Women of Ukraine.

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