6 Countries Launch Family Planning Research and Learning Agendas
Dr. Suzanne Kiwanuka, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Policy Planning and Management, Makerere University School of Public Health
Morrisa Malkin, Technical Advisor, FHI 360
As the global family planning community ushered in a new decade in 2020, the past was clear. Eight years had passed since the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, where leaders across the globe made the pivotal commitment to ensure that 120 million additional women and girls were empowered to use modern contraception by the decade’s end. And while immense progress was made, with 69 FP2020 focus countries reaching 60 million additional women and girls with modern contraception, the global FP community agrees it is not enough.
Now, with 2030 on the horizon, family planning stakeholders around the world are laser focused on meeting their 2030 objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals to ensure universal access to reproductive health care services. To meet their ambitious goals, however, countries need the most up-to-date knowledge base, country-owned priorities, and steadfast stakeholder commitment to guide the way. Developing family planning research and learning agendas (FPRLAs) is one way in which countries can systematically identify priority evidence gaps and forge a path towards a robust knowledge base for more equitable family planning programming. FPRLAs can also be used as a tool to counter duplication of evidence generation efforts by aligning stakeholder resources around an expected outcome. Recently, the R4S project supported stakeholders in Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, and Uganda to develop FPRLAs— first of their kind in these countries. R4S is pleased to announce the launch of Locally Driven Country Research + Learning Agendas for Family Planning – a website that presents an in-depth look at the multi-phase process each country followed to develop their own FPRLAs and offers guidance and insights to others embarking on a similar process.
In Uganda, Dr. Suzanne Kiwanuka, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Health Policy Planning and Management at Makerere University School of Public Health (an R4S project partner), was instrumental in driving the FPRLA process. “In Uganda, like in other participating countries, we reviewed literature to glean lessons over the past decade on family planning efforts and persisting gaps. We also extensively analyzed secondary data on family planning to identify pockets and patterns of inequities in family planning access. We synthesized all this evidence, packaged and used it as an entry point for stakeholder engagement. From these engagements we harnessed additional programmatic evidence. Our experience co-developing the research and learning agenda in Uganda revealed that stakeholders are deeply invested in contributing their knowledge and experiences to ensure that the strategies to reach national FP goals are evidence-based and effective.”
Stakeholders in Uganda have been accessing and using the FPRLA (now housed on the Ministry of Health Knowledge Platform) in a number of ways since its’ release. This robust document co-created by a broad range of FP stakeholders, brings to the fore the most urgent evidence needs as well as areas of programmatic focus which need to be enhanced to meet the country’s next FP goals. In fact, the data and information collected as part of the FPRLA process helped inform the development of Uganda’s Costed Implementation Plan 2021-2025, which includes a specific reference to the importance of research in achieving FP goals and objectives. R4S also supported the dissemination of the FPRLA to various stakeholder audiences, including the National Safe Motherhood Expert Committee. The Reproductive and Infant Health Division at the Ministry of Health has also incorporated an evidence-update, using the FPRLA, into ongoing meetings of the FPTWG.
R4S invites you to go in-depth into the FPRLA experiences of Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, and Uganda on this website, where you’ll find agenda themes, key takeaways, insights and more. For copies of the KII guide and other tools for conducting an FPRLA process in your country, please email us at R4Sinfo@fhi360.org.