Addressing Unmet Need: Potential for Increasing Contraceptive Prevalence in the Philippines

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Sample surveys carried out during the last four decades have proven the existence of “unmet need”, a term coined to describe a significant gap between a woman’s sexual and contraceptive behaviour and her stated fertility preference. According to the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) definition, a woman has an unmet need for contraception if she is fecund, sexually active and not using any contraceptive method, and yet does not want a child for at least two years. If a woman is pregnant or amenorrhoeic after giving birth, she is also considered to have had an unmet need if she had not wanted the pregnancy or birth either when it occurred or ever (Ross and Winfrey, 2002).