Emergency contraception will only have an impact on reducing unwanted pregnancies if women are provided with information and access to the methods available before they are needed. Emergency Contraception: A Guide for Service Delivery sets out to propose how emergency contraception can be integrated into the community and family planning care facilities through service outlets as a first contact point. Emergency contraception is considered to be one component of the long-term strategy to improve overall reproductive health care.
In spite of the effectiveness of modern contraceptives, unwanted pregnancies occur in large numbers throughout the world and many women seek termination. It is estimated that 40 to 60 million abortions are performed each year; approximately 20 million of which are carried out under unsafe and dangerous conditions. If emergency contraceptive methods were easily available, millions of unwanted pregnancies and abortions could be averted. These methods include increased doses of combined oral contraceptives, high doses of progestogen-only pills containing levonorgestrel and copper-releasing intrauterine devices.
Emergency Contraception: A Guide for Service Delivery. Family and Reproductive Health, World Health Organization, Geneva, WHO/FRH/FPP 98.19.