All people deserve the right to determine, as best they can, the course of their own lives. Whether and when to have children, how many, and with whom are important parts of this right. Family planning providers have the privilege and responsibility to help people to make and carry out these decisions. Furthermore, programs that honor their clients’ human rights contribute to positive sexual health outcomes.
Thus, high-quality family planning services and the people who deliver them respect, protect, and ful ll the human rights of all their clients. Everyone working at every level of the health system plays an important part. Health care providers express their commitment to human rights every day in every contact with every client.
Nine human rights principles guide family planning services. As a family planning provider, you contribute to all of them.
What you can do: Welcome all clients equally. Respect every client’s needs and wishes. Set aside personal judgments and any negative opinions. Promise yourself to give every client the best care you can.
Availability of contraceptive information and services
What you can do: Know the family planning methods available and how to provide them. Help make sure that supplies stay in stock. Do not rule out any method for a client, and do not hold back information.
Accessible information and services
What you can do: Help make sure that everyone can use your facility, even if they have a physical disability. Participate in outreach, when possible. Do not ask clients, even young clients, to get someone else’s permission to use family planning or a certain family planning method.
Acceptable information and services
What you can do: Be friendly and welcoming, and help make your facility that way. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. Ask what is important to the clients—what they want and how they want it provided.
What you can do: Keep your knowledge and skills up to date. Use good communication skills. Check that contraceptives you provide are not out of date.
What you can do: Explain family planning methods clearly, including how to use them, how effective they are, and what side effects they may have, if any. Help clients consider what is important to them in a family planning method.
Privacy and confidentiality
What you can do: Do not discuss your clients with others except with permission and as needed for their care. When talking with clients, find a place where others cannot hear. Do not tell others what your clients have said. Promptly put away clients’ records.
What you can do: Ask clients what they think about family planning services. Act on what they say to improve care.
What you can do: Hold yourself accountable for the care that you give clients and for their rights.
These human rights principles guide WHO’s work and serve as the framework for WHO’s guidance on contraceptive methods. The full statement of these principles can be found in Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations: 2014 (https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/102539).