Ways to avoid unintended pregnancies in developing countries: an example from Cameroon
Annett Fleischer, Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit
Unintended pregnancies continue to be a major problem in many developing countries. Over 200 million women and couples do not have access to contraceptives even though they have expressed the wish to use them. As a consequence, an estimated 80 million pregnancies are unplanned each year. One reason is that sexual and reproductive health includes sensitive issues and is very complex. It is anchored in the societal context and touches cultural values, norms, and taboos. Analysing the “Trust in Auntie” project, the paper explores causes and consequences of unintended pregnancies in Cameroon. It is argued that the emancipatory potential of self-help groups and the impact of giving personal testimony of teenage mothers help to improve reproductive health and hence reduce unplanned pregnancies in high-risk groups. The empowerment of teenage mothers contributes to a change in attitude and behaviour in adolescents.