Press Release: World Contraception Day

Cambodia Implant user

Phnom Penh, Saturday 26th September 2020:

This World Contraception Day, Marie Stopes International Cambodia urges donors, partners and the global community to ensure women have continued access to contraception throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Currently, across the globe, there are 214 million women with an unmet need for contraception and this is only increasing. During COVID-19, an estimated of 1.4 million women globally lost access to its family planning services alone.

In Cambodia the global pandemic has lead to loss of employment; the hardest hit sectors including tourism, manufacturing exports, and construction. 12 percent of garment and footwear factories, where most employees are women, have halted operations since mid-April 2020 affecting close to 100,000 workers. The return of many of these women to rural provinces may put them out of reach of, or unable to afford, essential contraception services. 

For younger women, accessing contraceptive advice and services can be especially challenging. As a result, large numbers of young women do not have the information they need about sex and how to prevent a pregnancy. 12.3% of pregnancies among 15-24 years old are unintended.  Access to non-judgmental youth friendly contraceptive information and services is essential to meet the needs of these groups.

Family planning changes lives, giving every woman the freedom to choose her own future. Improving access would result in millions more girls being able to complete their education, enter the workforce, and having the power to make decisions about their own lives and futures. 

Call to action

Marie Stopes International Cambodia is therefore urging local health authorities, donors and health sector partners to work together to maintain or increase their current support for access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services and to prioritise this in their COVID-19 responses, to ensure women and girls have timely access to essential services when needed most.

Amy Williamson, MSIC Country Director, said,

“It is so important for information on contraception and proper reproductive health counselling to be accessible by all those who need it – and it costs only around 3 cents per day to protect a young woman from an unintended pregnancy for one year, giving her the chance to finish her education or even saving her life.”

Strengthening quality services

Marie Stopes International Cambodia worked with public sector providers to bring high quality services on sexual and reproductive health.

Under the Partnering to Save Lives (PSL) project, Marie Stopes aimed to strengthen quality services – including contraception and safe abortion,  through clinical improvement and support to public providers by providing:

  • training and capacity development
  • follow-up visits to the health facility
  • on-the-job coaching
  • technical support provided by Marie Stopes contact centre

Watch this video to know more.

quality services
Marie Stopes team member provides on-the-job coaching to a public health provider in Kratie, Cambodia.

Partnering to Save Lives (PSL) was an innovative partnership between the Australian Government, the Cambodian Ministry of Health, Marie Stopes International Cambodia, CARE and Save the Children, designed to contribute to the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality over a five-year period (2013-2018).

Partnering to Save Lives

Marie Stopes International Cambodia worked on the Australian Government funded Partnering to Save Lives (PSL)  project in partnership with the Ministry of Health, CARE and Save the Children

The PSL project worked with frontline health service providers and a range of other partners in the provinces. The work of PSL aimed to increase demand and reduce barriers to access to health care, and quality of health care services with particular attention to most vulnerable groups including impoverished women, ethnic communities, garment factory workers and women with disabilities. Since its start in August 2013, PSL has supported all seven components of the MoH’s 2016-2020 Fast Track Initiative Road Map to Reduce Maternal and Newborn Mortality (FTIRM): emergency obstetric and newborn care, skilled birth attendance, newborn care, family planning, safe abortion (through training and quality improvement), behaviour change communication, and removing financial barriers.

Woman holding her baby in Kratie, Cambodia


To save the lives of women and newborn children in Cambodia by improving quality, access and utilisation of reproductive, maternal and neonatal health (RMNH) services through a partnership approach in line with the objectives of the Ministry of Health’s revised Fast Track Initiative Roadmap for Reducing Maternal and Newborn Mortality 2016 to 2020.

Key activities

Under PSL, Marie Stopes focused on provision of services in the under-served northeast (NE) provinces of Kratie, Mondul Kiri, Ratanak Kiri and Stung Treng and supported capacity development for family planning services and safe abortion in an additional 19 provinces across the country. Marie Stopes also worked to improve access to RMNH information and services for vulnerable young women working in 13 garment factories in Phnom Penh and Kandal activities included:

  • Comprehensive abortion care (CAC) training, and quality improvement processes in 13 provinces
  • Long term-family planning (implant and IUD) and permanent methods (Vasectomy and tubal ligation) services through training and quality improvement processes in 20 provinces
  • Providing capacity building to midwives via the Midwifery Coordination Alliance Teams (MCATs). Watch video.
  • Quality improvement in garment factory infirmaries in Phnom Penh and Kandal through training and coaching for service providers, quality assessments and action plans for improvement.
  • Engagement with service providers and factory managers to procure equipment and supplies and improve clinical spaces. Watch video.
  • Strengthened referral systems via the referral directory containing details of RMNH service providers, locations and price lists
  • Improved linkages with local authorities and stakeholders
  • Supported reducing financial barriers to access health services by implementing financial schemes that meet the varying health service needs of the target population
  • Developed training curriculum and materials and Information Education and Communication
  • Developed a program-wide learning agenda, supporting evidence based research

Learning Packages

Learning Package 1

Learning Package 2

Learning Package 3

Learning Package 4