Monday, 04 October 2021

Organon aims to normalise conversations around unplanned pregnancy

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Building on a vision to create a better and healthier every day for every woman, Organon is helping women make informed choices about their reproductive health.

World Contraception Day (WCD) took place on 26 September and is an annual commemoration day. The annual worldwide campaign centres around a vision where every pregnancy is wanted. WCD’s mission is to improve awareness of contraception and to enable young people to make informed choices on their sexual and reproductive health. Global women’s health company Organon is kicking off an important campaign in recognition of WCD. Titled ‘Let’s Talk About Unplanned Pregnancy’, it focuses on helping to raise awareness for the significant public health issue of unplanned pregnancy by aiming to ignite a worldwide conversation highlighting the importance of empowering women through education, information, conversation and empathy, so that they can make choices about their personal, reproductive and health needs, based on a thorough understanding of their contraceptive options. The number of children born to teen mothers in Gauteng alone has jumped 60% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaaza Lesufi said he was worried about a report that more than 23,000 teenage pregnancies were reported in Gauteng between April last year and March 2021.1“The rates of unintended pregnancy in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa continue to be particularly high,” says Organon South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa Managing Director, Dr Abofele Khoele. “There is no better time than now, the future and during days such as World Contraception Day to focus on empowering women through education, information, empathy and conversation to help reduce unplanned pregnancy. They need to know there are options they can choose from to avoid pregnancy.”According to Save the Children, early pregnancy and motherhood in South Africa forces many girls to drop out of school, traps many in a cycle of poverty dependant on public assistance and leaves many stigmatised by society for being teenage mothers or forced into early marriage. It also creates a greater risk in terms of maternal complications resulting in low survival rates of babies and forces many girls to prematurely take on an adult role which they are not emotionally or physically prepared for. This has devastating social and economic costs.2“COVID-19 caused a large-scale disruption that has affected women’s reproductive lives,” says Dr Khoele.

“The pandemic, with its unprecedented and severe economic, social and physical challenges, has had an impact on reproductive behaviours, and has limited access to contraceptives for vulnerable young women who were not able to visit clinics and doctors during the severest part of the lockdown either because of hardship or fear of contracting the virus. This makes awareness even more critical.”He adds that Organon offers a range of safe and effective contraceptive products for women, enabling them to choose what is best suited to their health and lifestyle requirements. These include combined oral contraceptive pills (commonly known as the pill); a vaginal ring that releases a continuous dose of the oestrogen and progestogen into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy; and a contraceptive implant containing progestogen that is placed under the skin of the upper arm, providing a long-term birth control option for women (up to three years).

“I can’t emphasise enough how much of a game-changer contraception is,” says Dr Mpume Zenda, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mediclinic Morningside in Johannesburg. “It has given women options – the option to decide if and when to have children. Contraception also sorts out many other issues from a gynaecological perspective. It’s a day to be celebrated and I hope other women take time out to understand what a game-changer it is for us.”Organon invites women, their families, healthcare professionals, and policymakers to visit HereforHerHealth.com/unplanned  to share their perspectives on how to help reduce the rates of unplanned pregnancy and join the company on a collective mission of having the conversation.“There is still so much we can do across our global and local communities to help raise awareness about unplanned pregnancy and work collectively towards lowering the rates,” says Dr Norah Maitisa, Country Medical Lead, Organon South Africa & Sub-Saharan Africa. “It is time to begin a new conversation, one that is geared towards reducing the stigma of unplanned pregnancy and giving women the information they need to make informed decisions when it comes to reproductive rights, birth control and fertility issues.”

To share your views on reducing unplanned pregnancy, visit https://hereforherhealth.com/unplanned/ To learn more about Organon, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/company/organonsouthafrica #hereforherhealth

Press Contact: Tranica Ramsunder
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References
1. 702. Lesufi worried by a report of more than 23,000 Gauteng teenage pregnancies. [20 Set 2021]. Available from: https://www.702.co.za/articles/424719/lesufi-worried-by-a-report-of-more-than-23-000-gauteng-teenage-pregnancies
2. ReliefWeb. Teen pregnancies in South Africa jump 60% during COVID-19 pandemic. [20 Set 2021]. Available from: https://reliefweb.int/report/south-africa/teen-pregnancies-south-africa-jump-60-during-covid-19-pandemic  

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