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An Advocates Guide: Integrating Human Rights in Universal Access to Contraception

guide

This guide, as the name suggests, is meant for use by advocates for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) at the country level. The guide uses the recommendations made to national governments in the publication “Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations” published by the World Health Organization in 2014, with the aim of ensuring that “the different human rights dimensions are systematically and clearly integrated into the provision of contraceptive information and services”.

The guide takes into account recommendations made by the WHO Guidance document, elaborates on what the recommendations actually mean, and provides a checklist with series of questions that probe into the extent of which a government has implemented or complied with a specific (set of) WHO recommendation (s). There are 17 such checklists, which together constitute a ‘tool box’ for assessing whether human rights are ensured in the provision of contraceptive information and services. The guide also provides an illustrative list of indicators for tracking adherence to human rights norms by contraceptive programmes.

The guide can be used by SRHR advocates, this includes women’s organisations, civil society organisations working on women, young people’s health and SRHR. The tool can also be used by health professionals within the health systems at the national level, as a resource and assessment tool for provision of rights based contraceptive information and services.

This advocate’s guide is meant as a generic tool. It will have to be adapted to different national and even sub-national settings, depending on its history of population control and the ethos of adherence to human rights, health system characteristics and resource levels.We hope this guide will enable SRHR advocates to use these WHO recommendations as a basis for holding governments accountable to respecting and upholding human rights in policies and strategies related to contraceptive information and services, and in the actual organisation and delivery of contraceptive services to users.