In early 2020, the Ministry of Health announced that family planning services — including a wide range of contraceptive options — would be included in Zambia’s new benefits package.
PAI helps advocates drive change in emerging universal health coverage reforms.
Governments around the world are fast-tracking universal health coverage plans designed to ensure citizens have access to quality and affordable health care. This is creating unprecedented opportunities to include sexual and reproductive health care, including family planning, in emerging policies and budgets — but only if advocates are at the negotiation table. PAI provides financial support and strategic guidance to partners like the Centre for Reproductive Health and Education in Zambia to ensure the health care needs of women and girls are front and center in these reforms.
PAI works with family planning advocates in seven countries to ensure that sexual and reproductive health services are included in emerging universal health coverage reforms.
Seizing Opportunities for Women and Girls
Countries around the globe are embarking on bold plans to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) and expand affordable health care to citizens. But as history has shown, if advocates are not part of the process, women and girls will be overlooked, and the cost of high-quality sexual and reproductive health services, including contraceptives, will remain a barrier for those who need them most.
Thanks to PAI partner the Centre for Reproductive Health and Education (CRHE), history won’t be repeating itself in Zambia.
When the government of Zambia introduced a new national health insurance initiative in 2018 as part of its UHC reforms, CRHE and PAI mobilized quickly, leveraging our collective strengths to ensure that family planning would be included.
CRHE advocates tapped into their local networks and experience with the Zambian political landscape to gain key intel on the process and timeline. PAI offered a technical analysis of the proposed health insurance plan and advised on the best opportunities to engage decision-makers.
With this analysis in hand, CRHE gathered Zambian family planning advocates and other stakeholders for a workshop. PAI was present to help clarify the policy implications of the new insurance program on sexual and reproductive health and supported attendees as they developed an advocacy strategy. At the end of the two days, members of the coalition left with a robust plan of action.
With PAI’s continued support, CRHE led the coalition as members pursued the advocacy agenda and worked with government decision-makers. In early 2020, their hard work paid off when the Ministry of Health announced that family planning services would be part of the new benefits package. This included a wide range of contraceptive options that would allow women to choose the one that works best for them, from birth control pills to implants, injectables, intrauterine devices and emergency contraception.
The decisions governments are making now around UHC will impact their citizens for years to come. It’s essential that organizations like CRHE are there to advocate for the health needs of women and girls and that PAI can provide them with the tools and resources they need to succeed.
PAI recognizes that advocacy requires a long-term investment and its support of CRHE has helped us achieve many wins for women and girls over the years.Amos Mwale, executive director, CRHE