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AHBN asks African leaders to increase spending on family planning

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… Jude Johnson 

 African Civil Society Organizations have called on African leaders to appropriate more budgetary allocations to family planning services in their countries which will translate to increased domestic spending and greater accountability and transparency on the use of public funds for the provision of family planning services and procurement of contraceptives which have direct bearing on the survival of mothers and babies.

The Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN), an umbrella body of these organisations believes that based on the Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of a drop in 2015 of donor support, the African countries need to step up domestic resource mobilization and spending by increasing annual budget and expenditure to family planning as well as exploring innovative and efficient funding mechanisms to finance contraceptives procurement and family planning services.

 Making the call ahead of the upcoming London Summit on Family Planning scheduled to hold on the 10th and 11th July 2017 organised by the DFID, BMGF, UNFPA and FP2020, AHBN noted that it is necessary to draw the attention of African Ministers of Health.

The Family Planning Summit will take place on 11 July 2017, the five-year anniversary of the inaugural London Summit on Family Planning aims to boost progress on one of the best investments governments can make rights-based family planning programmes. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, world leaders set a goal to empower 120 million additional women and girls in the 69 lowest-income countries to use modern contraception by 2020. At the 2017 Summit, partners from around the world will reconvene to evaluate lessons learned, invest in proven solutions and take collective action to accelerate progress towards the FP2020 goal. These efforts will help further the goal of universal access to sexual and reproductive health, as set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Among the core indicators to be achieved by 2020 is the ‘annual expenditure on family planning from government’s domestic budget’. Achieving this indicator will have positive effects on the remaining core indicators such as the ‘Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (mCPR) among all women which recent analysis recorded only 2 countries in Africa (Egypt and South Africa) reaching above 50%. The majority of the African countries recorded below 20%mCPR with high unmet need for a modern method of contraception.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s analysis of bilateral donor funding for family planning indicates that for the first time since 2012, this funding has not increased. Based on these reports. This year’s report highlights new estimates of total family planning expenditures by different sectors in FP2020 countries, including donors, consumers, and domestic governments.The analysis has shown that 2015 funding was 6% below the 2014 level.

Dr Aminu Magashi Garba, Coordinator of AHBN and one of the two civil society representatives of the Global Finance Facility (GFF) Investors Group said: “With humility I sincerely  call on the African leaders to use the opportunity of the2017 summit, take a stock of their countries’ progress over the years on annual financial commitment to FP  and step up actions at country level that increase spending and accelerate modern use of contraceptives for all women as well as improve transparency and accountability in health spending in general for Africa’s women and children.”

Margaret Bolaji, Family Planning Reference Group Youth Representative added that “African countries are encouraged to make room for the voices of young people from a variety of backgrounds, especially the poorest and marginalized and design health and family planning solutions with young people rather than for young people in strengthening young people friendly centers that promote growth, development, protection and participation.”

 The Africa Health Budget Network is a group of African and global organisations and individuals already using or wishing to use budget advocacy as a tool to improve health service delivery in Africa. It concentrates on three strands of work: connecting members to capacity building opportunities and tools; promoting learning and sharing within the network and applying coordinated and focused advocacy on African leaders with respect to their health financing commitments. AHBN secretariat is hosted by the Community Health and Research Initiative (CHR), a leader in evidenced based health budget advocacy in Nigeria.

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