Recently published research by CHDS’ Ryoko Sato and colleagues evaluated the effect of distance to a health facility, along with the services provided at the facility, on contraceptive uptake among married Turkish women. Worldwide unmet need for contraception remains high at 21.6%. Sato and colleagues examined whether access to health facilities is one of the potential barriers to contraceptive uptake.
The lack of high-quality data has been a challenge to evaluating the distance effect in existing studies. Researchers overcame such data challenges by utilizing both precise information on distance between health facility locations and households and information on services available at each facility. They found that the effect of distance to a health facility on contraceptive use significantly differed according to contraceptive availability at the facility. Further distance to a health facility that provided long-acting contraception decreased the use of long-acting contraception but had a substitute effect on the use of short-acting contraception methods that don’t require access to a health facility. When women face an accessibility barrier to the provision of long-acting contraception, they substitute less effective, short-acting contraceptive methods.