Family planning and reproductive health services are a vital part of the effort to ensure that women are healthier, more empowered members of society. In Zambia, women still have an average of six children in their lifetimes. Yet, surveys indicate that 27% of women of reproductive age want to space or limit births but are not using any form of family planning. There is clearly an unmet need for reproductive health interventions among a substantial portion of Zambian women of childbearing age.
Aside from giving women greater control over their lives, family planning can also help reduce the number of high risk pregnancies that can be the result of having children in close succession. Knowledge of reproductive health services can help avert teen pregnancies, which are often the causes of early marriages that force girls to drop out of school, thus limiting their opportunities for advancement later in life. Unfortunately, there is still stigma associated with seeking out family planning and reproductive health services here in Zambia.
CHAMP, with the aid of the Communications Support for Health project is working to change this situation by encouraging open dialogue about reproductive health issues. Zambians can get information, counselling, and referral services in family planning and reproductive health through the toll-free, 24-hour 990 Talkline.