By Suzanna Dennis, Director of Research

In recent years, there have been great successes toward increasing government funds for family planning—however, considerable work remains. For example, important initiatives such as FP2020, the Ouagadougou Partnership and the Global Financing Facility have mobilized government commitments to fund family planning programs. Advocacy has ensured that these commitments are implemented through budgetary allocations, but due to challenges with monitoring real-time government spending, there has been little progress in tracking whether such allocations are spent.

Donors play an important role with family planning funding in aid-dependent countries, which undermines the governments’ incentive to take a leadership role in meeting funding needs and spend their own resources on family planning programs. Government ownership has lagged in many sub-Saharan African countries, as evidenced by the small share of government investment as a percentage of the total support needed to ensure quality family planning programs. Lastly, there is no commonly accepted approach to measuring and tracking government spending on family planning. Lack of such a standard inhibits comparing government investments across countries, and—depending on population size, economic power and other factors—benchmarking acceptable levels of government spending.

Sustained government ownership of family planning programs is urgently needed. Civil society plays an important role in building sustained domestic resource mobilization. In July 2017, PAI and Advance Family Planning convened family planning budget advocacy experts from Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to operationalize a common framework for tracking government expenditures on family planning. Participants also explored adapting the framework for a subnational context. The long-term goal of this work is to ensure that governments are accountable for providing family planning services, by allocating and spending the majority of funding required for commodities and service provision.

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