Bizuneh, Genene, Solomon Shiferaw, and Yilma Melkamu. 2008. Unmet Need and Evaluation of Programme Options to Meet Unmet Need for Contraception in Ethiopia, 2000 and 2005: Further Analysis of the 2005 Demographic and Health Survey. DHS Further Analysis Reports No. 61. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Macro International
Ethiopia has a rapidly growing population. Currently, the population growth rate is 2.6 percent per annum. The population is expected to reach 80 million by 2009. The majority of the population resides in rural areas and is largely engaged in small-scale traditional farming that is highly dependent on rainfall. Rapid population growth can have negative consequences on the health care system, especially when the level of economic development of the country is low and when resources are scarce.
The national reproductive health strategy sets specific targets for the provision of family planning services, where it has focused on reduction of unwanted pregnancies and enabling individuals to achieve their desired family size. The main targets set to measure the progress towards this goal include reaching a contraceptive coverage rate of 60% by 2010 and ensuring awareness and increasing demand by 80%. In 2000, only 8% of currently married women were using contraception; in 2005, this level had increased to 14%, but this is still far from programme targets. As of 2005, only 31% of the family planning needs of currently married women had been met.
Addressing the huge unmet need observed in the past decade is one area of critical intervention identified in the health sector development programme as well as in the reproductive health strategy of the country. However, it is important to understand the reasons for such high and persistent unmet need so that viable programme options can be formulated that will guide interventions at various levels.