Improving family planning in the DRC

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), access to family planning services remains difficult, especially for adolescents and young adults. Consequently, unwanted pregnancies and clandestine abortions constitute a major public health problem in the country. A December 2019 review of reproductive health access and barriers paints the picture: most pregnancies in the DRC are unintended; without access to safe abortion, post abortion complications are common; and obstacles to getting care mean that even life-threatening complications often go untreated.

The best way to lower the number of unintended pregnancies is to increase the availability and use of contraceptives. The same 2019 report discusses how providing clear information is a key part of the puzzle: not only is understanding contraceptive options necessary for each individual to make informed choices, widespread awareness of birth control methods helps generate the demand for accessible and higher quality services on a broader level. Increasingly, digital solutions exist to facilitate access to quality family planning information and services yet government, health providers, and advocacy groups are often not aware of them.

Over the past year, Hesperian has been collaborating with journalists in the DRC to share information about sexual and reproductive health and Hesperian’s apps in French.

Hesperian’s Family Planning App

The Family Planning app has been used worldwide by contraceptive counselors to find the appropriate method for each person they counsel. Available in English, Spanish, French, Kiswahili, Amharic, Kinyarwanda and Afaan Oromoo — the app has been able to provide much needed reproductive health information during the pandemic for anyone who downloads it and for counselors working remotely. Learn more about Hesperian’s apps.