Contraception Policy Atlas Asia Pacific Region 2023: Highlights
The Contraception Policy Atlas Asia Pacific Region 2023, the first intraregional comparative tool, assesses the contraception policies of 43 countries. Using 3 headings and 16 criteria, the Atlas scores policy frameworks on family planning and equitable access to contraception funding. Data for all 43 countries, collected in early 2023 and validated by IPPF ESEAOR, provides insights into reproductive rights and contraception access in the region, empowering advocates and policymakers.
Silvia Traina, European Parliamentary Forum on Sexual and Reproductive Rights (EPF) representative, and Lady Lisondra, the Advocacy External Relations Senior Officer at IPPF ESEAOR, presented key findings from the Contraception Policy Atlas Asia Pacific Region 2023. These findings shed light on the state of contraception policies in the region, revealing crucial insights.
It was evident that only 12 out of 43 countries have legislation enshrining the right to choose the number, timing, and spacing of children. This indicates a need for greater recognition of reproductive autonomy across the region.
In terms of healthcare coverage, the report noted that only 10 out of 43 countries cover contraception through their national health insurance, with just 7 providing full coverage. This suggests that access to contraception remains a financial barrier for many in the Asia-Pacific region. Emergency contraception availability also emerged as a key concern, with only 20 out of 43 countries making it available without a prescription. This underscores the importance of improving accessibility to emergency contraception.
Cambodia stands out as the best-performing country in the region. It ensures the right to bodily and reproductive autonomy in a national policy through a national policy and official strategic plans like the Reproductive Health Commodity Strategy. The country boasts a wide range of 6-10 contraceptive methods listed in its national essential medicine list, reflecting its commitment to family planning. Cambodia's dedication extends to international platforms, where it has pledged to enhance sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and family planning.
Additionally, the atlas highlighted the need for improved information dissemination. Specifically, 30 out of 43 countries lacked user-friendly government-led websites informing citizens about contraception availability. The report also drew attention to specific challenges faced by Pacific islands, emphasising the lack of information and the necessity to develop national strategies for contraception, sexuality education frameworks, policies on emergency contraception, and effective management and funding of contraceptive supplies. These findings underscore the importance of targeted efforts to address reproductive health needs in this region.