Benefits of Meeting Women’s Contraceptive Needs in Burkina Faso


Michael Vlassoff
Aparna Sundaram
, and
Danielle Belemsaga/Yugbare

Many women and couples in Burkina Faso do not have the knowledge, means or support they need to protect their reproductive health and to have the number of children they desire. Consequently, many women have more children than they want or can care for. Others turn to induced abortion, which is overwhelmingly clandestine and potentially unsafe.

Reproductive rights are under attack. Will you help us fight back with facts?

Key Points

Key Points
  • Each year, nearly one-third of pregnancies in Burkina Faso are unintended. The vast majority of unintended pregnancies in the country are mistimed (occurred too soon) rather than unwanted (occurred after the woman had reached her desired family size) — 87% vs. 13%.
  • Of all women who currently want to avoid pregnancy, almost two-thirds are either not using any contraceptive method or are using a relatively ineffective traditional one. Together, these women are considered to have an unmet need for modern contraception.
  • This measure is greatest among the poorest women: Nearly 90% of women wishing to avoid pregnancy in the lowest wealth quintile have an unmet need for a modern contraception, compared with 36% of those in the highest wealth category.
  • Meeting half of need for modern methods at the national level would result in 116,000 fewer unintended pregnancies each year, leading to 37,000 fewer unsafe abortions and 400 fewer maternal deaths.
  • Investing in modern contraceptive services to fulfill half of unmet need would save the country US$18 million (8.6 billion African Financial Community francs) per year that it would no longer have to spend on medical costs associated with unintended pregnancies and their consequences.
  • Expanding contraceptive services confers substantial benefits to women, their families and society. All stakeholders, including the Burkinabe government and the private sector, should increase their investment in modern contraceptive services.