Women Reproductive Health & Rights – Where Do We Stand?
Not many women in Pakistan have the rights to make choices and decisions about their sexual and reproductive health including when, or whether, to consider having children. Reproductive health rights aren’t just limited to pregnancy and bearing children. They include the right to respectful relationships, safe and quality health services and more importantly, easy access to effective contraception methods.
Unfortunately, not many women have a say in deciding the fate of an unplanned pregnancy. On the other hand, the majority of our population doesn’t have access to accurate information about contraception. The current situation of women reproductive health in Pakistan is disturbing. Most females lack easy access to contraception methods. Let’s not talk about the judgmental stares when a woman asks for a condom at a retail store! There is no concept of screening for STIs. Women die daily from pregnancy and childbirth complications which could be prevented. Lack of safe sex practices only adds to the problems.
It is important that women of all ages have timely access to accurate, and unbiased sexual and reproductive health information and services. What our society fails to understand is that access to reproductive health services is a basic human right. Our women especially those in rural and even urban areas don’t have the information about their reproductive health and rights. They don’t seek medical help due to the associated stigma. If women want to take control of their reproductive health rights, they are discriminated against thanks to our deep-rooted traditions.
It is crucial for us, as a nation to understand that sex education, a woman’s ability to control her own body and easy access to the health facilities she needs is a fundamental right. Every woman, regardless of her age, caste, and religion or income level should be able to make decisions about her sexual health she feels is best for her.
While talking about women reproductive health rights often face backlash, KLIMAX is determined to change the status quo. The purpose of this article is to encourage women to take responsibility for sexual and reproductive health. In addition, the goal is to contribute to a behavior change.
Know the Different Contraception Types
There are many contraceptive methods available including pills, implants, IUDs, emergency contraception, and physical barriers (condoms and diaphragms).
Talk to your healthcare provider to know the contraception method that is right for you. Remember, you can talk openly about how the method works, the side effects (possible) and how affordable it is. Your doctor will recommend the best method depending on a number of factors including your medical history, overall health, and your lifestyle. You can discuss your options with your partner before making a final decision.
Every contraception method is different. For example, pills (oral contraception) need to be taken every day. IUDs or implants can last up to 3/5 years and offer long-acting reversible contraception. In addition to contraception, it is important to practice safe sex. Possibly the best way to reduce the risk of STIs is to use condoms.
If you opt for an implant which is usually placed in the upper arm, a low dose of progesterone will be released to prevent egg release each month. These implants can be easily removed and allow you to get pregnant later on.
Contraceptive injections usually are given every 12 to 14 weeks. This is another reliable and effective method of contraception. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small devices that are placed in the uterus and can last up to 5/10 years. They have to be inserted and removed by a doctor. Your periods can be affected as a possible side effect so make sure you consult your doctor.
Oral contraceptives or pills contain synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone. These pills are available as prescription medicines and are effective if used the right way. There are many types of oral contraceptives with different doses and hormones. Your healthcare provider will recommend the dosage that is right for you.
Physical methods of contraception include condoms (male/female) and diaphragm. As stated earlier, condoms also lessen the risk of STIs. Physical methods can be very effective if used the right way. Male condoms perhaps are the most affordable contraceptives. They can be bought from pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription and can be ordered online as well. A diaphragm is a silicone dome-shaped structure that fits in the vagina.
Natural methods of contraception include using the pull-out method and avoiding sex when a woman is potentially fertile. There are period tracking apps that allow you to know the days you are the most fertile.
There are permanent contraception methods as well that prevent pregnancy permanently. They include vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women.
To save women from judgmental stares and comments at retail stores, KLIMAX has launched its web store featuring a variety of reproductive health products including condoms. The products after placing an order will be delivered at your doorstep within 2 hours across all major cities in Pakistan and there are no delivery charges. This will ensure that you get the right product in time.
Results We Can Expect
In 2017 10,516,000 women are using a modern method of contraception. As a result of that contraceptive use;
- 2,640,000 unintended pregnancies will be averted.
- 806,000 unsafe abortions will be averted.
- 3,000 maternal deaths will be averted.
We must understand that sex and pregnancy without a woman’s consent is a sexual violation. It’s never okay. If a woman says yes once, it doesn’t mean she’ll say yes every time! Respect her decision to use protection. She has every right to enjoy a safe, fulfilling relationship.
The day we realize the importance of consent, our society will become a better place with fewer incidents of sexual offenses, physical assault, and emotional abuse.
The author of this article is Sabeeh Rizvi. Sabeeh Rizvi is a pharmacist, blogger and a content writer. Presently she is working as the senior content editor for a US-based digital marketing firm.