Opinion: Predictions 2020 — what will shape reproductive health issues in the coming year?

We are witnessing unprecedented acceleration of societal challenges around the world, especially for women. Every year, 303,000 women die from complications during pregnancy and childbirth. And approximately one-third of maternal deaths could be prevented annually if women who did not wish to become pregnant had access to and used effective contraception; globally, 214 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception.

Happily, the responses to these challenges are also accelerating, fueled by new knowledge, innovations in technology, and an expansion of service delivery through both the private and public sectors. In Ethiopia, for example, contraceptive use has increased from about 6% in 2000 to over 40% by 2014. Despite policies that limit access to services — including the U.S. “global gag rule” and Tanzanian restrictions on advertising — women around the world are obtaining the information they need through social media and websites. Meanwhile, Levoplant contraceptive implants, self-injection contraception, and medical abortions are being introduced into new markets.