Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.7 concerns modern contraception use among women of reproductive ages. This study evaluated the progress of indicator 3.7.1 in 11 selected countries in South and South-East Asia and assessed the contribution of women’s education to modern contraceptive use.
Generalized linear models for complex surveys were fitted to Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from 40 surveys conducted in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Timor Leste between 1990 and 2017, followed by a meta-analysis through forest plots.
Modern contraceptive coverage in most of the selected countries climbed or remained stationary over the past decades. In four countries, <50% of women used contraception. In no country was contraception used by ≥80% women. Higher education was associated with 13% higher odds of modern contraceptive use (95% confidence interval: 1.07, 1.18) among women compared to primary level or no education.
Completion of primary education is insufficient to broaden the coverage of modern contraceptive use. Greater national level effort from the selected countries is needed to lift the education levels of women to meet SDG 3.7 by 2030.