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Recommendations to Promote Safe and Effective Use of Contraceptives: World Health Organization [letter]
CHRISMED Journal of Health and Research. 2017 Oct-Dec; 4(4):291.The authors discuss the need to support and strengthen national family planning programs through more investment and better awareness to address the 220 million women who have an unmet need for family planning.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2017. 12 p. (Summary Brief WHO/RHR/17.20)Contraception is an inexpensive and cost-effective intervention, but health workforce shortages and restrictive policies on the roles of mid- and lower-level cadres limit access to effective contraceptive methods in many settings. Expanding the provision of contraceptive methods to other health worker cadres can significantly improve access to contraception for all individuals and couples. Many countries have already enabled mid- and lower-level cadres of health workers to deliver a range of contraceptive methods, utilizing these cadres either alone or as part of teams within communities and/or health care facilities. The WHO recognizes task sharing as a promising strategy for addressing the critical lack of health care workers to provide reproductive, maternal and newborn care in low-income countries. Task sharing is envisioned to create a more rational distribution of tasks and responsibilities among cadres of health workers to improve access and cost-effectiveness.
Health Research Policy and Systems. 2018 May 22; 16(1):42.BACKGROUND: As countries continue to improve their family planning (FP) programmes, they may draw on WHO's evidence-based FP guidance and tools (i.e. materials) that support the provision of quality FP services. METHODS: To better understand the use and perceived impact of the materials and ways to strengthen their use by countries, we conducted qualitative interviews with WHO regional advisors, and with stakeholders in Ethiopia and Senegal who use WHO materials. RESULTS: WHO uses a multi-faceted strategy to directly and indirectly disseminate materials to country-level decision-makers. The materials are used to develop national family planning guidelines, protocols and training curricula. Participants reported that they trust the WHO materials because they are evidence based, and that they adapt materials to the country context (e.g. remove content on methods not available in the country). The main barrier to the use of national materials is resource constraints. CONCLUSIONS: Although the system and processes for dissemination work, improvements might contribute to increased use of the materials. For example, providers may benefit from additional guidance on how to counsel women with characteristics or medical conditions where contraceptive method eligibility criteria do not clearly rule in or rule out a method.
Washington, D.C., PAI, 2016 Oct. 2 p.When the Global Financing Facility (GFF) was announced in 2014, it promised a “pioneering” way to finance and improve the lives of women, adolescents, children and newborns through provision of reproductive, maternal newborn and child health programs and policies. Family planning advocates and implementers were interested in the possibility of additional funds particularly as a global contraceptives funding crisis is looming, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being operationalized. To date, the GFF has had three rounds of countries selected to receive funding. In the first round, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania were selected. In the second round, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda were selected. In the third round, Guatemala, Guinea, Myanmar and Sierra Leone were selected. To better understand the role of the GFF in filling funding gaps for family planning and contraceptive procurement, we analyzed the four published investment cases for Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Uganda.
Pakistan: increasing access to SRH services in fragile contexts for rural women in hard-to-reach areas.
London, United Kingdom, IPPF, 2015 Sep. 2 p.In some areas of Pakistan, girls and women are vulnerable to harmful traditional practices, like swara (now illegal, a form of reconciliation where a girl or woman is given in marriage to settle a dispute) and early marriage, and many of them face tremendous obstacles to basic services, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.
Under-served and over-looked: prioritizing contraceptive equity for the poorest and most marginalized women and girls.
London, United Kingdom, IPPF, 2017 Jul. 40 p.This report is a synthesis of evidence revealed from a literature review, including 68 reports from 34 countries. The results are dire: the poorest women and girls, in the poorest communities of the poorest countries are still not benefitting from the global investment in family planning and the joined up actions of the global family planning movement. Women in the poorest countries who want to avoid pregnancy are one-third as likely to be using a modern method as those living in higher-income developing countries.
Policy brief on the case for investing in research to increase access to and use of contraception among adolescents.
Seattle, Washington, PATH, 2015 Mar. 4 p.This document outlines why governments and donors should invest now in research to help determine and implement the most effective and efficient ways to enable adolescents to access and use contraception. It summarizes the findings of a longer technical report.
Quality of care in contraceptive information and services, based on human rights standards: a checklist for health care providers.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2017. 32 p.Unmet need for contraception remains high in many settings, and is highest among the most vulnerable in society: adolescents, the poor, those living in rural areas and urban slums, people living with HIV, and internally displaced people. The latest estimates are that 225 million women have an unmet need for modern contraception, and the need is greatest where the risks of maternal mortality are highest. There is increasing recognition that promotion and protection of human rights in contraceptive services and programs is critical to addressing this challenge. However, despite these efforts, human rights are often not explicitly integrated into the design, implementation and monitoring of services. A key challenge is how to best support health care providers and facility managers at the point of service delivery, often in low-resource real-world settings, to ensure their use of human rights aspects in provision of contraceptive services. The point of service delivery is the most direct point of contact where potential violations/omissions of rights come into play and requires special attention. This checklist covers five areas of competence needed by health care providers to provide quality of care in contraceptive information and services including: respecting users’ privacy and guaranteeing confidentiality, choice, accessible and acceptable services, involvement of users in improving services and fostering continuity of care and follow-up. International and regional human rights treaties, national constitutions and laws provide guarantees specifically relating to access to contraceptive information, commodities and services. In addition, over the past few decades, international, regional and national legislative and human rights bodies have increasingly applied human rights to contraceptive information and services. They recommend, among other actions, that states should ensure timely and affordable access to good quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, including contraception, which should be delivered in a way that ensures fully informed decision making, respects dignity, autonomy, privacy and confidentiality, and is sensitive to individuals’ needs and perspectives. This document presents a user friendly checklist specifically addressed to health care providers, at the primary health care level, who are involved in the direct provision of contraceptive information and services. It is complimentary to WHO guidelines on Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations, and the Implementation Guide published jointly with UNFPA in 2015. This checklist also builds on WHO vision document on Standards for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal and Newborn Care and its ongoing work under the Quality, Equity and Dignity initiative. The checklist should be read along with other guidance from WHO and also from partners.
Quality of care in contraceptive information and services, based on human rights standards: a checklist for health care providers.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2017. 32 p.International and regional human rights treaties, national constitutions and laws provide guarantees specifically relating to access to contraceptive information, commodities and services. In addition, over the past few decades, international, regional and national legislative and human rights bodies have increasingly applied human rights to contraceptive information and services. This document presents a user friendly checklist specifically addressed to health care providers, at the primary health care level, who are involved in the direct provision of contraceptive information and services. It is complimentary to WHO guidelines on Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services: Guidance and recommendations, and the Implementation Guide published jointly with UNFPA in 2015. This checklist also builds on WHO vision document on Standards for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal and Newborn Care and its ongoing work under the Quality, Equity and Dignity initiative. The checklist should be read along with other guidance from WHO and also from partners.
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, WHO, Regional Office for Africa, 2017. 40 p.This guideline defines best practices, lists criteria for identifying best practices, gives examples of best practices, and provides guidance in the documentation and scaling up of best practices. It also explains how to use and disseminate this guideline.
The Botswana Medical Eligibility Criteria Wheel: Adapting a tool to meet the needs of Botswana's family planning program.
African Journal of Reproductive Health. 2016 Jun; 20(2):9-12.In efforts to strive for family planning repositioning in Botswana, the Ministry of Health convened a meeting to undertake an adaptation of the Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC) wheel. The main objectives of this process were to present technical updates of the various contraceptive methods, to update the current medical conditions prevalent to Botswana and to adapt the MEC wheel to meet the needs of the Botswanian people. This commentary focuses on the adaptation process that occurred during the week-long stakeholder workshop. It concludes with the key elements learned from this process that can potentially inform countries who are interested in undergoing a similar exercise to strengthen their family planning needs.
Development, updates, and future directions of the World Health Organization Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use.
International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. 2016 Dec 13; 7 p.Correct and consistent use of contraception decreases the risk of unintended pregnancy; yet, outdated policies or practices can delay initiation or hinder continuation of contraceptive methods. To promote the quality of, and access to, family planning services, WHO created a series of evidence-based guidance documents for family planning, known as WHO's Four Cornerstones of Family Planning Guidance. The Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use (MEC), first published in 1996, provides guidance on the safety of various contraceptive methods in users with specific health conditions or characteristics (i.e. who can use a contraceptive method safely). The Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use (SPR) is the second cornerstone, outlining how to safely and effectively use contraceptive methods. These two documents can serve as a reference for policymakers and program managers as they develop their own national family planning policies in the context of local needs, values, and resources. The two other cornerstone documents -- the Decision making tool for family planning clients and providers and Family planning: a global handbook for providers -- provide guidance to healthcare providers for applying these recommendations in practice. Between 2013 and 2014, WHO convened a Guideline Development Group (GDG) to review and update the MEC and SPR in line with current evidence. As a result of these meetings, the fifth edition of the MEC was published in 2015, and the third edition of the SPR will be released on December 14, 2016. The purpose of the present report is to describe the methods used to develop the SPR recommendations, research gaps identified during the guideline development process, and future directions for the dissemination and implementation of the SPR among policymakers and family planning program managers worldwide. (excerpt)
New York, Evaluation Office, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2016 Apr. 105 p.The purpose of the evaluation was to assess the performance of UNFPA in the field of family planning during the period covered by the Strategic Plan 2008-2013 and to provide learning to inform the implementation of the current UNFPA Family Planning Strategy Choices not chance (2012-2020). The evaluation provided an overall independent assessment of UNFPA interventions in the area of family planning and identified key lessons learned for the current and future strategies. The particular emphasis of this evaluation was on learning with a view to informing the implementation of the UNFPA family planning strategy Choices not chance 2012-2020, as well as other related interventions and programmes, such as the Global Programme to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security (GPRHCS- 2013-2020). The evaluation constituted an important contribution to the mid-term review of UNFPA strategic plan 2014-2017. The evaluation features five country case study reports: Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe.
Global Health: Science and Practice. 2015 Sep 10; 3(3):352-357.Contraceptive effectiveness is the leading characteristic for most women when choosing a method, but they often are not well informed about effectiveness of methods. Because of the serious consequences of “misinformed choice,” counseling should proactively discuss the most effective methods-long-acting reversible contraceptives and permanent methods-using the WHO tiered-effectiveness model.
Guttmacher Policy Review. 2015 Spring; 18(2):27-33.The U.S. overseas program for family planning and reproductive health has been under attack from policymakers who are antiabortion and increasingly anti-family planning. The two most notorious of these attacks are the blocking of U.S. funding for the United Nations Population Fund and the enforcement of the global gag rule, which prohibits aid to foreign nongovernmental organizations that engage in abortion services or advocacy with non-U.S. funds. In an ongoing counterproductive cycle, these restrictions have come in and out of effect depending on the political party in power -- a struggle that is expected to heat up again with a socially conservative Congress.
Applying lessons learned from the USAID family planning graduation experience to the GAVI graduation process.
Health Policy and Planning. 2015 Jul; 30(6):687-95.As low income countries experience economic transition, characterized by rapid economic growth and increased government spending potential in health, they have increased fiscal space to support and sustain more of their own health programmes, decreasing need for donor development assistance. Phase out of external funds should be systematic and efforts towards this end should concentrate on government commitments towards country ownership and self-sustainability. The 2006 US Agency for International Development (USAID) family planning (FP) graduation strategy is one such example of a systematic phase-out approach. Triggers for graduation were based on pre-determined criteria and programme indicators. In 2011 the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations) which primarily supports financing of new vaccines, established a graduation policy process. Countries whose gross national income per capita exceeds $1570 incrementally increase their co-financing of new vaccines over a 5-year period until they are no longer eligible to apply for new GAVI funding, although previously awarded support will continue. This article compares and contrasts the USAID and GAVI processes to apply lessons learned from the USAID FP graduation experience to the GAVI process. The findings of the review are 3-fold: (1) FP graduation plans served an important purpose by focusing on strategic needs across six graduation plan foci, facilitating graduation with pre-determined financial and technical benchmarks, (2) USAID sought to assure contraceptive security prior to graduation, phasing out of contraceptive donations first before phasing out from technical assistance in other programme areas and (3) USAID sought to sustain political support to assure financing of products and programmes continue after graduation. Improving sustainability more broadly beyond vaccine financing provides a more comprehensive approach to graduation. The USAID FP experience provides a window into understanding one approach to graduation from donor assistance. The process itself-involving transparent country-level partners well in advance of graduation-appears a valuable lesson towards success. Published by Oxford University Press 2014. This work is written by US Government employees and is in the public domain in the US.
Global Health: Science and Practice. 2014 Feb 11; 2(1):4-9.The postpartum period is a critical time to address high unmet family planning need and to reduce the risks of closely spaced pregnancies. Practical tools are included in the new resource for integrating postpartum family planning at points when women have frequent health system contact, including during antenatal care, labor and delivery, postnatal care, immunization, and child health care.
Programmatic and research considerations for hormonal contraception for women at risk of HIV and women living with HIV.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, 2012 May.  p. (Policy Implications; WHO/RHR/12.09)Between 31 January and 2 February 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened a meeting of experts to discuss recent research on use of hormonal contraception by women at high risk of HIV and those currently living with HIV and its implications. The purpose of the meeting was to review all available published evidence on the relationship between the use of hormonal contraceptives and the risk of HIV acquisition, HIV disease progression, and HIV transmission to uninfected partners, and to determine whether any change in the WHO recommendations on hormonal contraceptive use by women at high risk of, or living with, HIV-infection was needed. During the discussion on the balance of risks and benefits of hormonal contraceptive use among women at high risk of, or living with, HIV infection, multiple programmatic and research issues emerged, including priority knowledge gaps. This brief serves to highlight actions that programmes providing sexual and reproductive health and HIV-prevention services should undertake, in order to complement the Consultation’s recommendations. Directions for future research to address current gaps are noted. (Excerpts)
Contraception. 2011 Oct; 84(4):339-41.This editorial focuses on a strategy to expand contraceptive coverage through the development of a numerical International Statistical Classifications of Diseases (ICD) code for "unwanted fertility." It explains how this strategy would work, how to make the strategy happen through a revision process, and defining unwanted fertility as a medical problem. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive. 2011-2015.
Geneva, Switzerland, UNAIDS, 2011.  p. (UNAIDS/ JC2137E)This Global Plan provides the foundation for country-led movement towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive. The Global Plan was developed through a consultative process by a high level Global Task Team convened by UNAIDS. It brought together 25 countries and 30 civil society, private sector, networks of people living with HIV and international organizations to chart a roadmap to achieving this goal by 2015.
New York, New York, UNFPA, .  p.UNFPA's Maternal Health Thematic Fund, initiated in early 2008, represents a focused effort to accelerate progress towards saving women's lives and achieving universal access to reproductive health, as outlined in Millennium Development Goal 5. This report outlines the activities, results and achievements from 2010 and looks ahead at future challenges. It also features results from the Campaign to End Fistula and the ICM-UNFPA midwifery project and illustrates that significant progress can be made by adopting proven strategies -- including family planning, skilled care during childbirth, and expanded access and utilization of emergency obstetric and newborn care -- combined with partnerships for better coordination under national leadership.
Entre Nous. 2009; (68):24-25.Romania is a very special case when it comes to reproductive health in the modern world. After 30 years of a prohibitive society that denied couples and women the right to family planning, as a result of the political changes in December 1989 women in Romania have regained the fundamental right to freely decide the number of desired children, as well as the timing and spacing of births. Decree Law No. 1/ 1989, which promoted total abortion liberalization was the first resolution passed after the political changes in 1989 and it can be considered the symbolic foundation of family planning (FP) in Romania.
New York, New York, UNFPA, 2010. 2 p.This brief argues that despite increases in contraceptive use since 1994, high unmet need for family planning persists. Among the most significant underserved group is a new generation of adolescents. They enter adulthood with inadequate information on sexuality and reproductive health and few skills to protect their health and rights.
From advocacy to access: Uganda. The power of networks: How do you mobilize funds for reproductive health supplies? Fact chart.
London, England, IPPF, 2009 Nov.  p.In Uganda the IPPF Member Association, Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) coordinated civil society and mobilized advocates and champions to increase the availability of RH supplies and family planning. Results to date include: The Government of Uganda increased funding for RH supplies in the 2010 budget; The Government of Uganda disburses funds directly to the National Medical Stores on an annual basis enabling the bulk purchase of contraceptives; 30 out of 80 districts have committed to increasing their resource allocation for family planning and RH supplies.
Brussels, Belgium, DSW, 2009. 62 p.In September, DSW and the European Parliamentary Forum (EPF) produced the 2009 edition of our Euromapping report, an annual publication that provides an overview of the comparative ODA and SRH funding contributions and commitments of an individual donor country over time. This year's publication has been produced with the support of the European Commission, which has allowed us to release the publication along with a coordinated advocacy and media campaign in 7 European countries. In addition to being a quick reference guide on European funding levels for family planning and reproductive health, Euromapping is intended as an advocacy tool for NGOs and decision makers to monitor the level and composition of ODA as a means of verifying whether governments are living up to their political and policy commitments.