Family Planning

Family Planning can prevent nearly one-third of all maternal deaths, and hundreds of thousands of newborn and child deaths annually through the reduction of high-risk pregnancies, curbing unintended pregnancies, and spacing of births.

More than 1 in 3 currently married women in Ethiopia are using a modern method of family planning. The country has seen more than four-fold increase in the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from 8 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2016 (EDHS). The fertility rate decreased from 5.9 to 4.6 births per woman during the same period.

In its Health Sector Transformation Plan Ethiopia has committed to increase its contraceptive prevalence rate to 55 percent. But there is still a long way to go to attain this ambitious goal. Currently, a little more than one in five women in the country still have unmet need for family planning, the figure being much higher in rural areas (DHS, 2016). Moreover, the method mix is still skewed towards short acting family planning methods although the share of long acting methods has shown a remarkable increase over the past five years. The quality of family planning services is also not to the required level as only less than half of current clients get counselled on side effects.

Ethiopia has long formulated and implemented the National Drug Policy. The national drug list contains priority health products including contraceptives and essential life-saving maternal health drugs. However, there are still capacity challenges in product registration, quality assurance, clearance, development and implementation of product and healthcare regulatory standards. There is progress in percentage of service delivery points offering increased number of modern contraceptive methods. However, a lot remains to be done with the ever expanding number of service delivery points to hard-to-reach corners of the country demanding a more flexible, advanced and strong supply chain management system as well as service delivery models.

UNFPA is supporting interventions in the country aimed at realizing increased availability of essential life-saving maternal and newborn health commodities and modern family planning methods and services.  The interventions seek to improve the enabling environment for reproductive health commodity security, support demand generation, improve efficiency of procurement and supply of reproductive health commodities, improve access to quality reproductive health commodities and family planning services, strengthen capacity for supply chain management and improve results-based planning and monitoring. 

Around one-third of the reproductive health commodities and life-saving medicines requirements of Ethiopia is being supplied through UNFPA Supplies. The UNFPA Supplies supported facility-based survey of 2016 on stock availability shows that at least three modern contraceptive methods at primary level and at least five at secondary and tertiary level are available at 95 per cent of the service delivery points.

Contraceptive financing, strengthening supply chain management, capacity building of health care providers, ensuring provision of quality family planning and maternal health services that are up to human rights standards and reaching the marginalized and underserved communities (with the attempt to ensure no one is left behind) are areas that UNFPA is contributing to in its Country Programme.