A mother with her children in Ghana. (Courtesy of Karen Kasmauski/MCSP)
For millions of women worldwide, lack of economic independence can mean more than a life of poverty. Unable to access healthcare without a husband’s or father’s permission, it can be a matter of life or death.
Women in many of the countries where USAID’s flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) works struggle to take control of their lives – both financially and physically. This includes their ability to choose when and if to have another pregnancy. Often there’s a relationship between these two facts, as well: as our staff found in Nigeria, male control over household assets and decision-making has a direct impact on contraceptive prevalence rate.
K4Health shares our favorite family planning resources!
It’s hard to believe this now, given all the information we have available at our fingertips, but when I was a college student in the mid-2000s, the Internet was barely used as a research tool. If I wanted to know which resources in my field of study were the best and most reputable, I asked a librarian, consulted an encyclopedia, or saved clippings of magazine articles by experts. It was a time-consuming process, but I loved it. Why? Because I knew that I could trust my sources.
At the recent Family Planning Summit for Safer, Healthier and Empowered Futures in London in July, representatives from country governments, donors, and civil society organizations reconvened, as many had five years earlier, to make bold commitments in support of reaching 120 million women with contraception by 2020. To achieve these commitments, governments and partners within a country must have a shared vision and must coordinate financing and implementation of aligned and complementary activities. Costed Implementation Plans (CIPs) are one way that countries have articulated and guided the who, what, when, and how much will it cost of achieving their FP2020 commitments. As we pause to reflect on the outcomes of our collective efforts over the past five years, I think it is equally important to reflect on the processes we have employed to achieve those outcomes, including how we implement CIPs.
L-R: Dr. Assefa Seme (Co-PI, PMA2020/Ethiopia), Dr. Linnea Zimmerman (Associate Director for Research, PMA2020), Dr. Ephrem Lemango (Director of Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Directorate of the Ministry of Health in Ethiopia), Dr. Solomon Shiferaw (PI, PMA2020/Ethiopia).
Data from the fifth and most recent round of the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey in Ethiopia show an increasing proportion of women, married, unmarried, and all, are using highly effective, long-acting forms of contraception, such as implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and to a lesser degree sterilization. Over the past three and a half years (since PMA2020’s first survey round in 2014), Ethiopia has made strides in improving family planning access and use among both married and unmarried women. More women are using contraception, they are using contraception at an earlier age, and they are increasingly choosing the most-effective long-acting methods.
Join HIFA for a thematic discussion on how to meet the family planning/contraception (FP/C) information needs of the general public, healthcare providers and policy makers in low- and middle-income countries. Join us!
Photo by Trevor Snapp for IntraHealth International.
Back in the early 1990s, the International Planned Parenthood Federation asked me to research and write about maternal mortality. It was a true eye-opener: the daily tragedy of maternal deaths—in huge numbers. I learned that most of these deaths are preventable, and many are the consequence of unintended pregnancies, due largely to lack of availability of modern contraceptives. Over the following months and years, my sense of injustice was compounded as I began to learn of other global health inequities. I soon found myself leaving the U.K. National Health Service for a (chequered and unconventional) career in global health.
A group of children from the remote village of Antaralava in Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar await health consultations from the Centre ValBio mobile health clinic. (Photo credit: Sophie Weiner)
During my very first week at K4Health, I learned I would be travelling to Madagascar to help train members of the local Population-Health-Environment (PHE) network on storytelling techniques, and to conduct interviews with PHE-focused health care providers, recipients, and policy makers as part of K4Health’s Family Planning Voices initiative. New to the world of global health, this would be my first assignment in a low- or middle-income country. I was excited for the trip—an opportunity to feel a deeper connection to our work outside the office, but also slightly anxious about the unknown and overwhelmed by all the new information to learn.
Public Health Ambassadors Uganda | Project Officer
Religious leaders have often been left out of SRHR advocacy strategies, yet their influence is critical.
Uganda is characterised by a diversity of religious groups and practices, each with its own perceptions of sexuality education. As culture and religion are intertwined, many believers still practice some cultural values and norms to live harmoniously in their communities. Parents and religious leaders often have misconceptions of sexuality education, so there has been a gap in strengthening advocacy efforts to implement a sexuality education policy in Uganda.