Revitalization of Family Planning Programs
Ndola Prata, University of California, Berkeley
Amita Sreenivas, University of California, Berkeley
Many family planning programs in Sub-Saharan Africa are weak and poorly functioning. Lack of leadership, resources and above all, political will, are the major issues being faced by currently existing programs. This paper reviews current population policies and family planning agendas in some of the fastest growing countries in Africa. We then assess the impact that rapid population growth is having on their maternal and child health, economy, equity and poverty reduction strategies. Lastly, we outline four critical steps that governments can take which will benefit their populations now and in the long-term: (1) increase general public knowledge about the safety of family planning methods; (2) reduce fees to ensure contraception is genuinely affordable to even the poorest families; (3) ensure supply of contraceptives by making family planning a permanent line item in national/state health budgets; and (4) take immediate action to remove barriers hindering access to family planning methods.