BY F2FA, 12:20pm March 24, 2015,

Ghanaian Health Worker Argues Access to Contraception Is Key To Empowering African Women

A volunteer health worker in Uganda teaches a woman about the use of contraceptives. Photograph: Alan Gignoux /Alamy

Contraception in Uganda

A volunteer health worker in Uganda teaches a woman about the use of contraceptives. Photograph: Alan Gignoux /Alamy

In a recent op-ed by Faustina Fynn-Nyame, the Kenya country director for international contraception and abortion NGO Marie Stopes International, Nyame argues that female access to contraception in Africa “is a basic human right.”


Keep Up With Face2Face Africa On Facebook!

In “Westerners Don’t Appreciate How Amazing Contraception Is,” Nyame explains what her experience has been working between Ghana and Kenya.

I have seen the consequences when contraception is not available. I’ve seen women dying in childbirth, mutilating their bodies or risking their lives with backstreet abortions.

In developed countries such as the UK, contraceptive use has plateaued between 60% and 80%. In east Africa, if current trends continue, it will take another 45 years to reach 60%. While in west Africa, where I am from, the same rates will not be achieved for 500 years.

That’s the year 2515.

For Nyame, contraception gives females control over their lives and their destinies:

When girls have the choice…they have children later. This means they can finish their education, become financially independent and contribute to society. They can space their births further apart, which means healthier lives for them and their babies.

She also bristles at the notion that contraception is a Western solution that isn’t needed on the continent.

Women in Africa want contraception. While the west waffles on about providing aid for family planning, Africans are asking for it. I met one woman called Hawa in a remote village in Kenya who knew about contraception but was living far from a clinic.

She hadn’t been able to use it and was struggling to feed her five children. She was very angry and felt her life could have been very different if only she had access to contraception. Women and men see the importance of making our own choices and determining our own future. It’s not the west telling us to do something.

In fact, Nyame contends that access to contraception is one of the key ways women in the U.K., for example, have the advantage over African women. 

As someone who has lived and worked in clinics from Brixton to Accra, the main difference I see is that women in the UK are empowered. They can take control of what happens to their body and what they want from their futures.

In countries such as Ghana and Kenya that agency is not there. But the women in Kenya and Ghana are brave because they are challenging the status quo. I meet girls with hope in their eyes and ambition in their voices, who give me the sense things can really change. They are challenging what their mother and grandmother, religious leader and husband tells them. Their husband may not be happy about their choices, he may even beat her until she’s black and blue but they are determined to create real change.


Poll What is your favorite Wizkid song?

Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates