The Medical Research Council of the United Kingdom has announced it will fund a three-year research partnership to explore ways to improve adolescent access to contraception and safe abortion in Malawi, Zambia and Ethiopia. The partnership brings together Ipas, the London School of Economics, the African Institute for Development Policy, the University of Zambia and the Malawi Law Society.
Sub-Saharan Africa, where these countries are located, has the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the world. Thirty-five percent of adolescent pregnancies in the region are unintended, and adolescents face financial, social and other barriers to accessing contraceptive services. Additionally, unsafe abortion is a major public health problem, not only in countries where access to safe abortion services is highly restricted legally, but also where it is available legally.
With the support of ministries of health and policymakers in the three countries, the project will examine youth-focused interventions that have been effective at improving information to adolescents about safe and legal abortion and contraceptive access, with the goal of generating evidence on how those interventions could best be implemented and scaled up in health systems.
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