Countries are at the forefront of global progress in family planning. FP2020 was launched in 2012 with groundbreaking commitments from 24 governments to expand access to contraception in their countries. Since then another 12 countries have joined the FP2020 movement—including 7 just in the past year—bringing the total number of commitment-making countries to 36.
All commitment-making countries now have national family planning strategies in place, and 20 countries have developed costed implementation plans (CIPs). These plans establish clear goals and objectives for expanding access to rights-based family planning, with an emphasis on voluntarism, informed choice, quality of care, and reaching the poor and vulnerable. Each country’s government leads the development and implementation of its plan, working in concert with civil society stakeholders, the private sector, implementing partners, and donors.
Accurate data is crucial for accountability, and a key benefit of the FP2020 platform is the support countries receive in measuring and assessing their family planning programs. Track20 trains country M&E specialists to use the FP2020 Core Indicators in alignment with country family planning strategies, and supports annual data consensus workshops where government decision makers and other stakeholders review family planning data. Two-thirds of commitment-making countries have now received M&E training from Track20, and this year 19 countries conducted data consensus workshops.
Visit familyplanning2020.org/countries to view all country commitments
ACHIEVING THE COMMITMENTS: 2014-2015 HIGHLIGHTS
All commitment-making countries are invited to provide official annual updates on the progress made toward their FP2020 goals. In this section we highlight a few of the success stories from the past year: specific commitments that have been achieved or notable gains that have been recorded.
Malawi fulfilled one of its key FP2020 commitments this year with a landmark law raising the marriage age from 15 to 18. The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act 2015 is an important legal milestone on the journey to ending child marriage, and represents a major human rights victory for girls and women. Malawi’s next task is to amend the constitution to bring it into alignment with the new law.
In March 2015 the Ministry of Health began developing a costed implementation plan (CIP) for Malawi’s FP2020 strategy. The intensive five-month process to develop the CIP was supported by USAID, FP2020, and UNFPA, and included wide-ranging consultations with local religious and traditional leaders, stakeholders in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society, and service providers. The resulting Malawi Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan, 2016–2020 was launched in September 2015.
See Appendix 2 for a full list of commitment-making countries
At the Third Nigeria Family Planning Conference in November 2014, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) unveiled the Nigeria Family Planning Blueprint (Scale-Up Plan), 2014–2018. The plan articulates Nigeria’s ambitious FP2020 commitment, including the goal of raising the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) among married women from 15% to 36% by the year 2018. The total cost of implementing the blueprint is estimated at US$603 million. The FMOH and its partners are currently working with states to develop costed implementation plans for state-level activities in support of the national strategy.
One of Nigeria’s FP2020 commitments is to open up opportunities for the social marketing of contraceptives. Social marketing can mitigate some of the socio-cultural barriers to family planning, such as religious restrictions, a cultural preference for large families, and women’s lack of decision-making power. DKT Nigeria is using social marketing to provide a wide a variety of contraceptive options to Nigerian consumers, including condoms, IUDs, oral contraceptives, emergency contraceptives, injectables, and implants. In 2014 DKT Nigeria became the first program on the African continent to offer Sayana® Press commercially.
In 2014 Kenya registered a striking increase in its contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) for married women, which rose from 46% in 2009 to 58%.7, 8 This exceeded the government’s own goal of achieving a 56% CPR by 2015. Much of the improvement can be chalked up to Kenya’s shift to community-based distribution of injectable contraceptives, a nationwide effort led by the Ministry of Health and Jhpiego with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The data also revealed an especially marked increase in the CPR among the urban poor, with the rate for that demographic rising 14 points from 2009 to 2014. This good news suggests that the five-year Urban Reproductive Health Initiative in Kenya (Tupange)—also a collaboration between the Ministry of Health, Jhpiego, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—has had a significant impact.
At the same time, Kenya is facing the challenge of moving to a decentralized political system. Since making its FP2020 commitment in 2012, Kenya has transitioned to a two-level system of government, and most health functions have been devolved to county governments. But the National Council for Population and Development and its partners are working with the counties to build their capacity for supporting and implementing family planning policies. Read more on family planning in Kenya.
Zambia also recorded a significant gain in its CPR, with an increase from 33% at the time of its FP2020 commitment to 45% in the latest survey.9 If this trend continues, the government’s benchmark goal of 58% CPR by 2020 is likely to be surpassed.
Some of Zambia’s success can be attributed to the doubling of its budget for family planning—a key FP2020 commitment which has now been achieved. Zambia’s FP2020 strategy is led by the Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health, while a strong multisectoral Technical Working Group (TWG) oversees implementation. The TWG is co-chaired by the Ministry and UNFPA, and includes representatives from civil society as well as other partners. The Ministry has now begun forming TWGs in the provinces to ensure that national family planning initiatives are scaled up at the local level.
If this trend continues, the government’s benchmark goal of 58 percent CPR by 2020 is likely to be surpassed. Some of Zambia’s success can be attributed to the doubling of its budget for family planning—a key FP2020 commitment which has now been achieved.
Togo announced its FP2020 commitment in December 2014 and is already moving briskly on its pledges. Regional meetings in the country’s six health regions were held in July 2015 to disseminate the Action Plan for Repositioning Family Planning in Togo 2013–2017, with participation from all family planning stakeholders. The government evaluated a community-based distribution service provision for contraceptives, including injectables, and approved it for roll-out. An Informed Push Model pilot was launched in the Maritime and Plateaux regions to improve the supply of contraceptives, and innovative strategies are being implemented to improve the accessibility of family planning services. Read more on family planning in Togo.
Cameroon held its first family planning mobilization week in February 2015, garnering public commitments from political leaders, government ministers, and elected officials. The Family Planning Operational Plan 2015-2020 was launched and disseminated to family planning stakeholders that same week, and the national budget line for contraceptive commodities was increased from FCFA80 million to FCFA90 million. In the past year the government has also formed a committee on contraceptive safety, approved the introduction of Implanon NXT™ and Sayana Press®, trained 690 family planning providers, and launched the SMS for Life program to collect data on the stock levels of contraceptives in 22 districts across 6 regions.
Benin joined the FP2020 partnership in 2013 with an ambitious pledge to gradually increase its contraceptive budget allowance from FCFA20 million to FCFA 250 million. This commitment is close to being achieved after only two years. In 2014 the government doubled its budget allocation for contraceptives to FCFA40 million, and then increased it in 2015 to FCFA200 million. Benin’s task now is to secure a permanent line in the budget of the Ministry of Health to ensure that this allowance is maintained.
7. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and ICF Macro. Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014:Key Indicators. Calverton, Maryland: KNBS and ICF Macro, 2015.
8. Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) Project, International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya (ICRHK). 2014. Detailed Indicator Report: Kenya 2014. Baltimore, MD: PMA2020. Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
9. Central Statistical Office (CSO) [Zambia], Ministry of Health (MOH) [Zambia], and ICF International. 2014. Zambia Demographic and Health Survey 2013–14. Rockville, Maryland, USA: Central Statistical Office, Ministry of Health, and ICF International.
Having children is an important life decision that should be made freely and from a position of empowerment. Access to sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning, expands options for women and adolescent girls to shape their future and fulfill their potential. It leads to fewer births, fewer deaths, and fewer injuries. It also allows women and girls to obtain more education, better employment, and greater equality, all of which help eradicate poverty and transform our world.
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund