(May 2010)The growing use of family planning around the world gives women and couples the ability to choose the number and spacing of their children. Policymakers and family planning advocates are increasingly aware that modern contraception offers tremendous benefits through improved health and economic well-being. Yet helping women and men achieve their reproductive goals relies on a number of critical policy and programmatic steps, including:
- Having the right quantity and combination of products in facilities to serve clients’ needs.
- Using a well-functioning distribution system to get supplies to the right locations and on schedule.
- Ensuring adequate funding to purchase needed supplies and to keep facilities operating. When these steps are coordinated, family planning programs can help ensure that women and men can choose, obtain, and use a wide range of high-quality, affordable contraceptive methods and condoms.
Achieving this goal of contraceptive security requires sustainable strategies that ensure access to high-quality contraceptive supplies and services. This set of briefs—Contraceptive Security: A Toolkit for Policy Audiences—is designed to introduce the key elements of contraceptive security and provide field-based experiences to illustrate policy and programmatic advances.
The overview brief provides an introduction to the six briefs in this toolkit, an explanation about why attention has recently turned to contraceptive security, and examples of how countries are achieving contraceptive security.
Using Contraceptive Security: A Toolkit for Policy Audiences
This set of policy briefs provides policymakers, program managers, advocates, and the media with basic information about achieving contraceptive security. Each brief listed below includes key messages and supporting information, country-based experiences, and next steps for policy audiences to advance the policy and programmatic issue covered in the brief.
- Planning for Contraceptive Security: Start With SPARHCS introduces the Strategic Pathway to Reproductive Health Commodity Security (SPARHCS) framework, which focuses on how a country or program can begin to develop strategies for contraceptive security.
- Financing Contraceptives: A New Funding Environment addresses changes in development assistance and how national governments are increasingly identifying ways to pay for the contraceptive needs of women and men.
- Procuring Contraceptives: Options for Countries examines some of the common regulatory issues that affect the use of public funds to purchase contraceptives and other health supplies; it also provides examples of how countries can collaborate in sharing information about procurement.
- Supply Chain: Getting Contraceptives to Users highlights the importance of a well-operating supply and distribution system as a critical element of meeting people’s family planning needs.
- Policy Environment: Understanding the Context for Contraceptive Security underscores the importance of political support for achieving contraceptive security and illustrates how civil society and the commercial sector can be involved in these efforts.
- Priority Actions and Recommendations for Contraceptive Security brings together a set of next steps on each of the above-mentioned topics to assist stakeholders in helping their countries achieve contraceptive security.
James Gribble is vice president for International Programs, Population Reference Bureau.