Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FP/RH)
Reproductive health is critical for the greater health and wellbeing of young people and plays an instrumental role in ensuring young people lead productive lives. Good reproductive health is a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system.” Ensuring good reproductive health for young people allows them to have access to accurate information and services related to contraception, post-abortion care, and sexually transmitted infections like HIV.
The evidence shows that, in many aspects, youth’s reproductive health has improved over time. There are fewer unintended adolescent pregnancies and more access to and use of a wide range of contraceptive methods. However, adolescent pregnancy is still high globally, and low rates of informed, accurate use of effective contraceptives is part of what drives pregnancy among young women.
When girls and young women have access to quality methods of contraception and can plan their families, they are more likely to be successful at home, at school, and in economic and civic life. Programs and policies should support efforts that promote youth’s reproductive health and should include expansion of access to youth-friendly reproductive health information and services, prevention of child marriage, and increased attention about reproductive needs of youth, especially unmarried youth. Programs that include activities challenging the underlying gender and social norms related to adolescent pregnancy and use of contraception—especially through empowerment programming—are more likely to be successful.
The resources in this section present some of the existing evidence on youth and reproductive health, along with promising practices in implementation and evaluation.