Expanding Contraceptive Method Mix and Method Choice

Photo by Population Council

It is widely understood that as method choice and access expands, so does contraceptive uptake and usage. Nonetheless, in many countries, the availability of a diverse method mix is highly constrained. In Africa, method mix is dominated by short-term methods such as pills and injectables, while in Asia the mix is skewed toward permanent methods. This imbalance in method mix highlights important health-system challenges and demonstrates wide-ranging inequities in family planning access.

Expanding the method mix is critical both for ensuring individual choice and equitable access, and for achieving the ambitious commitments made at the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. To assist the many countries that are working to expand their method mix, the Evidence Project is drafting a working paper that explores the history of how the methods came into a better balance over time.

We analyzed existing demographic data across 123 low- and middle-income countries to provide insights into the dynamics of method-mix transitions. Drawing on this data, a set of 15 countries has been identified where notable positive changes in the composition of the method mix have occurred over time. Results suggest certain patterns in the path to an improved method mix. This analysis provides a useful perspective for better understanding the dynamics of past method-mix transitions, which can ultimately offer insights for future efforts to expand contraceptive method access and choice.

Evidence Project researchers John Ross, Jill Keesbury, and Karen Hardee published a paper on the dynamics of method-mix transitions in low- and middle-income countries. Read more here.