Addressing Provider Bias Against Young People Seeking Contraception
Partners: Pathfinder International, Camber Collective, BERI, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Location: Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Tanzania
Young people accessing sexual and reproductive health services are often faced with stigma, judgment and provider bias. In partnership with Pathfinder International, we are working to address provider bias and improve services for young people.
There is a global unmet need for contraception.
Of the estimated 38 million sexually active adolescents (15-19) in developing regions who do not want a child in the next two years, 23 million have an unmet need for contraception. Additionally, there is a persistent unmet need and skewed method mix of modern contraception. Adolescents have a low use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) suggesting they are not consistently offered a full choice of contraceptive methods. Among adolescent women in developing regions who use modern contraceptives, only 5% use intrauterine devices and 8% use implants.
There has never been a targeted intervention that aims to address provider bias.
Most efforts to increase universal access and reduce unintended pregnancy have been focused on improvements to expand access to high quality services by improving facility settings, training providers, generating demand, and fostering enabling environments.
Provider bias is a complicated challenge that requires new multidisciplinary thinking. It is influenced by factors including social and gender norms, religious beliefs, local policies, social and demographic characteristics of clients, professional environments, along with lack of knowledge and a myriad of other factors. It requires a deep understanding of bias, how it differs by circumstance, and how it can be changed.
We are working in partnership with Pathfinder International in Pakistan, Burkina Faso and Tanzania to design, build and scale solutions that improve the quality of care, information, and choice for youth. We are starting with empathy for both youth and providers to identify scalable solutions that address provider bias and improve contraceptive counseling and services.
The project is led by Pathfinder International in collaboration with Camber Collective, the Behavioral Economics in Reproductive Health Initiative, Aga Khan Health Services Tanzania, and Greenstar Social Marketing.