Voluntary Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care
Access to voluntary family planning and reproductive health care for couples and individuals is critical to ensuring safe motherhood, healthy families, and prosperous communities.
Voluntary family planning can help women avoid unintended pregnancies and plan and space their desired pregnancies to occur when most healthy for them and their families. High unmet family planning needs are associated with higher maternal death rates and more unintended pregnancies and associated complications, all of which take an extraordinary toll on women’s lives, physical and mental well-being, and productivity. Although modern contraceptive use has increased in many countries, challenges remain in ensuring women are empowered to voluntarily choose the number and timing of their pregnancies. In 2017, about 295,000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth.1
As the world’s largest family planning bilateral donor, USAID is committed to helping countries meet the voluntary family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) needs of their people. MOMENTUM strives to increase access to quality voluntary FP/RH care as a central strategy for reducing maternal and child mortality in USAID partner countries. Building on decades of USAID learning and investment, MOMENTUM reinforces national technical capacity to lead, finance, and sustain FP/RH care.
Strengthen access to and quality of care at health facilities
MOMENTUM works with both public and private health providers to ensure a range of contraceptive options are available to individuals and families. Project technical assistance includes:
- Improving the quality of contraceptive counseling and providing a full spectrum of contraceptive options so that individuals and families can freely select and access a family planning method that meets their personal needs.
- Engaging private sector FP/RH providers to enhance the quality of care and increase access, particularly in informal environments in urban settings and among youth.
- Ensuring vulnerable women and girls can access FP/RH care following acute and protracted humanitarian crises and in other fragile settings.
- Increasing the availability of life-saving reproductive health care, including postabortion care and emergency contraception and postexposure prophylaxis for survivors of sexual assault.
Increase access to counseling and contraceptive care at the community level
Visiting health facilities for contraceptive care is often challenging for women in rural areas, making it more likely that they will discontinue contraceptive use. MOMENTUM works with community health workers and other cadres to increase access to and coverage of community-based contraception distribution and family planning counseling. We also work with ministries of health to scale up “self-care” approaches that increase women’s autonomy to use contraception, such as self-administration of injectable contraception and the contraceptive vaginal ring.
Integrate messaging and service delivery within other health services
Recent multicountry research shows that integrating voluntary family planning with maternal and child health care is cost-effective and improves health outcomes.2 MOMENTUM helps identify and scale up effective approaches to integrating FP/RH care, such as providing family planning counseling during child immunization visits. We are also exploring the feasibility of incorporating family planning in other non-health sector programs, such as community agricultural activities, to extend the reach of family planning messages.
Meet the unique needs of adolescent girls and young women
We work with youth- and women-led organizations to identify innovative and locally appropriate techniques for increasing access to FP/RH care that meets the unique needs of young women and adolescent girls. We also help countries and communities adopt successful approaches for engaging men and adolescent boys as family planning users, supportive partners, and agents of change.
Advance leadership and learning
MOMENTUM provides global technical leadership and contributes new evidence highlighting approaches that improve the quality and accessibility of FP/RH care. Examples include testing new FP/RH service delivery approaches and sharing learning within and across USAID partner countries. In addition, we collaborate with ministries of health to scale up new contraceptive technologies as part of their learning agenda.
- World Health Organization, Trends in Maternal Mortality 2000 to 2017, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/327596/WHO-RHR-19.23-eng.pdf?ua=1
- Family Planning High Impact Practices, www.fphighimpactpractices.org/.