The Health Policy Project has ended, but work continues under a new USAID five-year project, Health Policy Plus (HP+).
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Advocacy makes a difference in improving women’s access to family planning services in Nigeria. Photo by PJ Otter.
Cross River State Ensures Distribution of Materials Through Local Budget
This story was originally posted on USAID's Impact Blog: http://www.usaid.gov/results-data/success-stories/ensuring-sustainable-access-family-planning-cross-river-state-nigeria
In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, fewer than one out of every five married women use family planning. An additional 16 percent of women want to delay or limit childbearing, but are not using contraception. Limited access to family planning prevents women from safely spacing their pregnancies, fuels unsustainable population growth, and puts the health of women and children at risk.
While the Nigerian Government provides contraceptives and other family planning commodities at no cost, state governments are responsible for getting the products to the clinics, pharmacies and other health facilities where women can access them. Many states, however, have not dedicated funds to transport the contraceptives to local health facilities, threatening breaks in contraceptive protection for millions of women.
One example is Nigeria’s Cross River state, but there the situation is about to change. While international development partners have traditionally stepped in to help distribute the commodities, the lack of local ownership of the supply chain threatens the sustainability of Nigeria’s family planning program.
In response, the USAID-funded Health Policy Project supported a group of local civil society organizations, the Budget Transparency and Accountability Network, to create a family planning advocacy working group.
In 2013 and 2014, the working group mounted an advocacy campaign to ensure government distribution of family planning commodities to the nearly 400 health facilities across the state. Through budget tracking and targeted advocacy to local government offices, the working group secured a commitment from the Cross River Finance and Appropriations Committee to create a dedicated line item for the distribution of family planning commodities in the state budget.
The state government allocated over $60,000 (10 million naira) for the new budget line in June/July 2014, ensuring commodity distribution and security for the state’s 371 health facilities for the foreseeable future.
“The support from USAID through HPP [the Health Policy Project] has actually added enormous value to the improvement of the lives of the people of the state who desire FPCs [family planning commodities] and have access today,” said Uko Ekott, executive secretary of the Budget Transparency and Accountability Network.
By supporting local advocacy to change how Nigeria finances the distribution of family planning commodities, the Budget Transparency and Accountability Network is helping to increase local ownership of health services and ensure access to family planning for women across the state.
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