May 30, 2022|
Doctor of JD Health: Telemedicine to Support UNFPA’s Call to Prevent Unintended Pregnancies
by Vivian Yang
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released the State of World Population 2022 report in Beijing on May 24th which aims to examine the profound consequences of unintended pregnancy to the lives of women and girls, for the wider society and for global health. Dr. Fan Weiqun, a full-time gynecologist at JD Health’s online hospital, was invited to participate in a panel discussion during the report launch event and shared her experience in supporting women in such circumstances through telemedicine.
The report, titled “Seeing the Unseen: The case for action in the neglected crisis of unintended pregnancy”, notes that women everywhere deserve to have access to a range of contraceptive methods, to be fully informed and supported in their decisions, to receive follow-up care, and to have new options available if they experience side effects or changing life circumstances.
On this note, Dr. Fan pointed out that nowadays in China many young women in their teens and reproductive ages between 20 to 40 are accustomed to resorting to the internet for health counselling, especially on contraceptive-related questions, as telemedicine can help answer their questions quickly and better protect their privacy.
Dr. Fan Weiqun, telemedicine gynecologist at JD Health
Dr. Fan is a seasoned gynecologist with nearly 30 years of clinical and teaching experience. Among the 44,000 online consultations she received in the past two years at JD Health, the majority of them were related to contraception and pregnancy. Her advice ranges from remedial measures after unprotected sex or contraception failures, safe long-acting reversible contraception methods, pregnancy possibility evaluation to explaining pregnancy test results.
In addition to providing scientific contraception suggestions according to individual users’ situations, informing them in detail of the specific implementation and matters needing attention, Dr. Fan and her colleagues always promote scientific contraceptive knowledge at any possible opportunity so as to minimize their inquirers’ risk of unwanted pregnancy caused by misperception.
“It is a sign of social progress if we can let every pregnancy happen according to women’s will and give them full right to choose the ideal time for pregnancy,” said Dr. Fan. “As health workers, we have the ability and obligation to realize it.”
Leveraging the company’s strength in supply chain and health resources both online and offline, JD Health will further collaborate with UNFPA and other relevant parties in the future to enhance the whole society’s awareness and knowledge on reproductive health.
The report revealed the alarming finding that nearly half of all pregnancies globally, totaling 121 million each year, are unintended. Over 60 percent of unintended pregnancies end in induced abortion and an estimated 45 percent of all abortions are unsafe, causing between 5 to 13 percent of all maternal deaths, thereby having a major impact on the world’s ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
China has made progress in achieving the SDGs. The national maternal mortality ratio has decreased from 89 per 100,000 live births in 1990 to 16.9 per 100,000 live births in 2020. The national contraceptive prevalence rate among married women was 80.6 percent in 2018. However, there are still about 9 million abortions performed annually, and 23 percent of sexually active unmarried young women are reported to have had unintended pregnancies.