The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
NEWS & VIEWS
By Jay Gribble, Deputy Director for Family Planning/Reproductive Health, Health Policy Project/Futures Group
WASHINGTON, DC—As the African Leaders Summit convenes in Washington, DC to discuss inclusive, sustainable development, economic growth, and trade and investment, a key strategy that decisionmakers need to keep in mind for enhancing health and reducing poverty is improving access to modern contraception. Through promoting healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, family planning can reduce deaths among infants and children by more than 20 percent and maternal deaths by as much as 44 percent.
To date, 13 African countries have launched sharpened national strategies, set national targets, and developed scorecards to track progress. They have identified those areas where the highest rates of child and maternal deaths occur, and are reducing those rates. In the last two years alone, 24 priority countries – of which 16 are in Africa – have achieved an eight percent reduction in under-five mortality, saving 500,000 lives.
Through strengthening the policy environment for family planning and improving access to contraception, African countries can save the lives of more children and mothers. The Policy Checklist: Essential Elements for Successful Family Planning Policies, developed by the USAID-funded Health Policy Project, draws from lessons learned and best practices moving from policy to action. By comparing current policies with the best practices discussed in this document, stakeholders can assess whether current policies need to be revised or better implemented, and whether new policies should be developed.
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