Modern Contraceptive Use Increasing in Developing Nations

Researchers used the Family Planning Estimation Tool to evaluate the performance of 68 of the 69 countries involved in the Family Planning 2020 initiative.

Many developing nations have rapidly increased their use of modern contraceptive strategies and have decreased their unmet needs for safe and effective contraceptives, according to a systematic analysis of the Family Planning Estimation Tool (FPET) published in The Lancet.

In this study, researchers sought to assess the progress of family planning indicators between 2012 and 2017 in 68 countries involved in the Family Planning 2020 initiative. The investigators used data collected from Track20 annual monitoring and evaluation workshops, as well as the updated family planning estimation model and the FPET.

The updated FPET provided estimates and projections of the unmet need for, and demand satisfied with, modern methods of contraception. In addition, the updated FPET provided estimates for the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) among married or partnered women of reproductive age who resided in the focus countries of the Family Planning 2020 initiative.

Among the partnered or married women included in the analysis, the mCPR was 45.7% in 2017 (95% uncertainty interval [UI], 42.4%-49.1%). In addition, the demand satisfied with modern contraceptive strategies was 67.9% (95% UI, 64.4%-71.1%), whereas the unmet need for modern contraceptive strategies was 21.6% (95% UI, 19.7%-23.9%).

The number of women included in this analysis who used modern contraceptive methods between 2012 and 2017 rose by 28.8 million (95% UI, 5.8-52.5 million). Compared with Africa’s mCPR growth of 23.9% (95% UI, 22.9%-25.0%) to 28.5% (95% UI, 26.8%-30.2%) between 2012 and 2017, the mCPR in Asia was much slower (51.0% [95% UI, 48.5%-53.4%] to 51.8% [95% UI, 47.3%-56.5%]). More than half of the countries (61%) exceeded pre-Family Planning 2020 expectations for use of modern contraceptives.

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Considering that a total of 21 countries included in this analysis lacked survey or service statistics data, the researchers were unable to derive accurate projections for these areas. Surveys that were used, however, may have been subject to nonsampling error, further limiting the findings.

Kenya was found to be one of the fastest progressing countries in this study in increasing mCPR and decreasing unmet need, and this country may “provide case studies for achieving success in other countries.”


Cahill N, Sonneveldt E, Stover J, et al. Modern contraceptive use, unmet need, and demand satisfied among women of reproductive age who are married or in a union in the focus countries of the Family Planning 2020 initiative: a systematic analysis using the Family Planning Estimation Tool [published online December 4, 2017]. Lancet. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)33104-5