Emergency contraception in post-conflict Somalia: Assessing awareness and perceptions of need
Awarded 2014
Trainee Grants
Faduma Gure, BHSc
University of Ottawa

Somalia’s reproductive health indices are among the worst in the world. Rates of maternal death, total fertility, and sexual and gender based violence reflect the poor reproductive health outcomes of women living in Somalia. Over two decades of civil unrest left the majority of the population without access to basic health care, particularly reproductive health services. Currently, it is estimated that about 1% of women in Somalia use a modern method of contraception, and the country has yet to register a dedicated progestin-only emergency contraceptive pill. This study seeks to explore levels of awareness and the perceived need for emergency contraception (EC), as well as stakeholders’ knowledge of and experiences with reproductive health services in Somalia. Through interviews and focus group discussions with stakeholders in Somalia, I learned that awareness about vital services like EC is low, while the need for EC and broader reproductive health services is high. Evidently, stakeholders believe awareness, availability, quality care, culture, religion and good governance are important factors for both delivering and accessing reproductive health care. These study findings will fill an important gap in the literature and support efforts to expand and improve reproductive health service delivery in the country.