Report: More Than 300 Million Women and Girls in World's Poorest Countries Using Modern Contraceptives at Midpoint of FP2020 Initiative

DateNovember 1, 2016
SourceFP2020
TypePress Releases

November 1st, 2016: A new report released today by Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) reveals that, for the first time in history, the number of women and girls using modern contraception in the world’s 69 poorest countries has surpassed 300 million—a milestone that has taken the health and development sectors decades to reach. 

FP2020 Momentum at the Midpoint 2015-2016 marks the critical halfway point of the FP2020 partnership, launched at the historic London Summit on Family Planning in 2012. The Summit called for unprecedented global political commitments and resources to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.

The data featured in the report reveal noteworthy accomplishments as well as some significant challenges for the partnership. More than 30 million additional women and girls compared to 2012 now can use contraception across the 69 FP2020 focus countries.

Regionally there are compelling examples of success. For example, in Eastern and Southern Africa, for the first time ever more than 30% of women and girls are now using a modern method of contraception.  In West Africa, where contraceptive use has been historically low, the Ouagadougou Partnership has surpassed its goal of reaching 1 million additional women and girls with modern contraception between 2011 and 2015, and is now aiming to reach 2.2 million additional users by 2020.

Despite the significant progress, collectively the FP2020 partnership has not reached as many people as hoped—the data show the efforts are off track by some 19 million women and girls. In addition, the sector faces a sizable financing gap for family planning programs, and significant questions loom around how to ensure that enough contraceptives supplies are available for the unprecedented numbers of women and girls who need them.

Tackling these challenges will require a strategic and coordinated approach moving forward among many stakeholders. The report calls on the family planning community to urgently accelerate progress through investment and interventions grounded in the wealth of data and evidence now available. 

 “While we have not reached as many people as we had hoped by this time, the richness of the data now available enables us to peel back the layers and study the situation on a country-by-country basis, revealing a strikingly varied landscape of progress,” said FP2020 Executive Director Beth Schlachter.

As in previous years, the report also delves into the funding landscape—highlighting how mobilizing the necessary resources to sustain family planning services is a critical component of success and a vital priority for donors and focus countries alike moving forward. Donor governments provided US$1.3 billion for bilateral family planning in 2015– a 6% decrease below the previous years’ funding levels. This is the first reduction witnessed since the tracking of these efforts began in 2012 by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The decrease can largely be attributed to currency fluctuations and the appreciation of the US dollar.

“Addressing the financing gap for family planning programs, ensuring a sufficient and diverse supply of contraceptives, and improving the visibility and tracking of domestic and donor funding alike continue to be central priorities for our entire sector, including and importantly through the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) Supplies Program,” Schlachter said.

In the coming years, continued strengthening of country, regional, and global partnerships, and forging new collaborations with a variety of stakeholders, will be vital to reaching more women and girls.

The FP2020 partnership continues to expand, with more than 90 commitment makers now on board, including 38 of the 69 focus countries. These 38 countries together account for almost 90% of women and girls in the 69 countries who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception.

  • Three countries, Afghanistan, Lao PDR, and Vietnam, joined the FP2020 partnership in the past year, bringing the total number of commitment-making countries to 38.
  • Three organizations have made new commitments: Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network; Population Services International; and Chase Africa.
  • Four FP2020 partners renewed their commitments this year with ambitious new objectives, pledging to build on the contributions they have already made and go even further: the government of Germany; International Planned Parenthood Federation; Intrahealth International; and FHI 360.

The totality of these efforts, and the consequences of use or non-use of modern contraception for women’s health and well-being, have a measurable impact: in 2016, modern contraceptive use by 300 million women across the 69 focus countries averted an estimated 82 million unintended pregnancies, 25 million unsafe abortions, and 124,000 maternal deaths.

Ultimately, whether or not all women and girls have access to voluntary contraception will have ripple effects for families, communities and countries, and will help determine if countries are able to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health, human rights, prosperity, and the environment.

“With renewed momentum, we have the opportunity and the obligation to reach the hardest to reach, including young people, the poorest, the marginalized and the most vulnerable, and to ensure that all programs and policies are grounded in the principles of agency, access, availability, and quality of care. Only by working in this way will we reach our collective goals,” said Schlachter. “As we enter the second half of the initiative, we benefit from a deeper understanding of how family planning services reach, or fail to reach, specific sub-populations of women and girls. The evidence base is growing for a wide range of interventions, and the resulting insights can help us shape more effective policies, programs, and investments to reach women and girls with the services they want and need.”

Find the digital edition of FP2020 Momentum at the Midpoint 2015-2016, download the full print version, and explore additional resources at: www.familyplanning2020.org/progress. Live at 2am ET, 1st November, 2016

For further information and to request an embargoed copy of the report, or to discuss and schedule an interview appointment, contact:

Cathy Bartley/ Bartley Robbs Communications
Tel: +44 20 8694 9138 / +44 795 856 1671
cathy.bartley@bartley-robbs.co.uk 

Lauren Wolkoff
Tel: +1 202 251 9847
lwolkoff@familyplanning2020.org

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About Family Planning 2020:

Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) is a global partnership that supports the rights of women and girls to decide—freely and for themselves—whether, when and how many children they want to have. FP2020 works with governments, civil society, multilateral organizations, donors, the private sector and the research and development community to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.

FP2020 is an outcome of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning and is based on the principle that all women, no matter where they live, should have access to lifesaving contraceptives. Achieving the FP2020 goal is a critical milestone to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services by 2030, as laid out in Sustainable Development Goal 3. FP2020 is in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. For more information visit www.familyplanning2020.org

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