View the latest family planning advocacy news from our partners.
On July 13, 2020, Kenya’s Department of Family Health approved a new national training package for pharmacists and pharmaceutical technologists that includes subcutaneous and intramuscular DMPA (DMPA-SC and DMPA-IM). The comprehensive curriculum integrates family planning, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and other related services. Printing began in September 2020 and plans for roll out are underway.
Seven regions in Tanzania’s Lake and Western Zones, previously low-performing with respect to family planning, are now showing notable progress in the provision of postpartum family planning (PPFP) services. The USAID-funded Boresha Afya project recently reported improvement in PPFP uptake—the percentage of postpartum women who accepted a modern family planning method among all women who delivered in project-supported facilities within the last six months. All seven of the project’s regions increased PPFP uptake since 2015, the year before the project began [1,2].
Between May 2019 and August 2020, 10 companies in the Khulna division of Bangladesh committed to provide on-site family planning counseling and services in partnership with their district’s family planning office. The companies, eight located in Bagerhat district and two in Khulna district, are allocating space and time for their employees to receive services during the work day. District governments are supplying commodities and supporting visits from health providers twice a week.
In April 2020, Hon. Ummy Mwalimu, Minister of Health, announced that Tanzania procured 90% of the contraceptives needed  for fiscal year 2019-2020 (FY 19-20) . The Government of Tanzania, United Nations Population Fund, U.S. Agency for International Development, United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and Global Fund collectively funded procurement of the commodities.
In January 2020, the Nasarawa State government approved five million Nigerian naira (US $11,400) for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) in its fiscal year 2020 budget . It is the first time that the Nasarawa State Primary Healthcare Development Agency has approved dedicated funds for AYSRH.
In February 2020, the Kebbi State Ministry of Health launched the Kebbi State Task Shifting Task Sharing (TSTS) Policy for Essential Health Care Services. Like the 2018 national TSTS policy, the new state policy allows lower cadre health workers to share in the provision of essential health services, including family planning . It allows patent and proprietary medicine vendors (PPMVs), also called drug shop owners, and community pharmacists to provide implants and contraceptive injectables.
The Tanzania Parliamentary Association on Population and Development (TPAPD) marked the end of the country’s five-year parliamentary term on June 11, 2020, with the launch of two milestones: Promote, Prioritize and Invest in Family Planning during COVID-19: A Call to Action and the TPAPD Roadmap: Promote Impactful Change in People’s Lives (2020-2025). The documents call on government leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that family planning services remain essential during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On January 15, 2020, Mauritania’s Ministry of Secondary Education issued a circular authorizing three districts to provide free reproductive health information and services, including family planning, for in-school adolescents.
Family planning services are rebounding in the Matungu subcounty of Kakamega County, Kenya, after the introduction of media advocacy efforts and a new initiative by local officials to ensure the continuity of essential services during COVID-19. Local “hotlines”—telephone chains that link expectant women to transportation to local health centers—are helping ensure that reproductive, maternal, and newborn health services continue despite curfew restrictions.
In June 2020, the Chairmen of Funakaye and Nafada Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Nigeria’s Gombe State approved the release of 60,000 naira (US $156) and 220,000 naira ($572), respectively, from their local health budgets. It is the first time that LGAs in Gombe have allocated and released funds for family planning. The funds will be used for the purchase of consumables such as cotton wool, disinfectants, gloves, and gauze. Although seemingly modest, the funds will help remove informal user fees that are a barrier to family planning service uptake.
Advocacy for family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights has a strong track record of achievements. Yet how do aspirations for a resilient local civil society align with donor investments and values like local ownership and sustainability?
On May 7, 2020, the Narok County Director of Health issued a circular immediately reinstating non-emergency health services, including family planning, which were suspended on March 26th. The county ordered the suspension to deploy health care providers to COVID-19 response efforts as well as minimize risks to routine clients. Non-emergency services are now available at facilities in Narok County, and clients are returning to use them.