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Strengthening Evidence for Programming on Unintended Pregnancy – ‘STEP-UP’ (2011-2016)

STEP UP was an 8-year research programme consortium funded by DFID and coordinated by Population Council alongside 5 partner institutions in its initial phases; the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, the African Population and Health Research Centre, Marie Stopes International, and Partners in Population and Development.

The consortium aimed to generate policy relevant research to prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce unwanted births by reducing the unmet need for family planning and safe abortion services.

Burkina Faso STEP UP

Family planning education © Marina Daniele

STEP UP addressed two key questions:

  • How can existing health systems be strengthened so that unmet needs for family planning and safe abortion are reduced, especially among poor women?
  • Which innovations in technology, delivery, and financing can best expand access to family planning and safe abortion, especially among poor women?

While Research  has being carried out under 5 main themes, LSHTM´s focus was mostly on Research Theme 1: Understanding the determinants and consequences of unintended pregnancy with particular focus on the unmet need for family planning. Key activities were concerned with:

  • Understanding the low level of contraceptive use among low fertility educated women in Accra;
  • Improving uptake of postpartum family planning methods in Burkina Faso;
  • Improving the measurement of unsafe abortion;
  • Evaluating impact of programmes aimed at improving the uptake of family planning/reducing unintended pregnancies.
  • Improving the measurement and understanding of reasons for unmet need for family planning.


The results of the STEP UP research program can be found on the STEP UP website.


Research members of the STEP-UP team at LSHTM have included: Veronique Filippi, Kazuyo Machiyama, Marina Daniele, Cicely Marston, Onikepe Owolabi, Alicia Renedo.

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