New article: Defining Counselling in Contraceptive information and services

Nandita Thatte

Dear IBP Colleagues 

Please see a new article published on defining contraceptive counseling. 

Begin forwarded message:

Dear colleagues

Hope you are staying well and keeping safe. Sharing a new article that just published in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.


The link is provided as under:  

Ali M, Tran NT. Defining counselling in contraceptive information and services: outcomes from an expert think tank. BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health Published Online First: 14 June 2021.

Access the article at:


Quality contraceptive counselling has the potential to play a key role in supporting individuals select a method that matches their needs and expectations, mitigate any side effects, continue their method, or turn to other options, thereby reducing the unmet need for contraception, among other factors. There is, however, no standard definition of contraceptive counselling, although the centrality of quality counselling is underscored in different frameworks and programmatic and policy recommendations.


A think tank on the topic was held at WHO, Geneva in 2019. The think tank gathered representatives from academia, implementing agencies and international organizations working in the contraception field (see Acknowledgements) and had the objective of identifying research and guidance gaps and other opportunities for improving the quality of contraceptive counselling. Notably, the discussions culminated in the development of a comprehensive definition of counselling, which can hopefully serve as a benchmark for further development, update and use by academia and implementing agencies. The definition reads as follows:

“Contraceptive counselling is defined as the exchange of information on contraceptive methods based on an assessment of the client’s needs, preferences, and lifestyle to support decision-making as per the client’s intentions. This includes the selection, discontinuation or switching of a contraceptive method. The key principles are based on: coercion-free and informed choice; neutral, understandable and evidence-based information; collaborative and confidential decision-making process; ensuring respectful care, dignity, and choice”.

We also published two more relevant articles on FP counselling, so just putting the links for your convenience.  

The second article:

  • Ali M, Tran NT, Kabra R, Kiarie J. Strengthening contraceptive counselling: gaps in knowledge and implementation research. BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health Published Online First: 30 April 2021.


and, the link to the third articles is as under:

  • Cavallaro FL, Benova L, Owolabi OO, Ali M. A systematic review of the effectiveness of counselling strategies for modern contraceptive methods: what works and what doesn’t? BMJ Sex Reprod Health. doi:10.1136/bmjsrh-2019-200377


Thought these will be of interest to you. Feel free to share it among your networks.

Best regards


Moazzam Ali MBBS, PhD, MPH, MBA, PG Diploma | Epidemiologist. Medical Officer | UNDP-UNFPA-UNICEF-WHO-World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP) | WHO Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research | World Health Organization. Avenue Appia 20, Geneva 27, CH-1211 Switzerland | Tel: +41 (22) 791.3442  |  Mobile +41 (79) 477 0431 |  E-mail: alimoa@...   | Twitter: @Moazzam2000 | Personal profile | Moazzam’s ORCID |


Nandita Thatte, DrPH

Department of Sexual and Reproductive Health

World Health Organization

Geneva, Switzerland

Email: thatten@...



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