By Sesi Aliu
At the outset of 2020, we knew it would be a challenge to present a complete picture of progress over the eight years of the FP2020 partnership, primarily because indicator estimates included in each year’s report are largely based on data collected in previous years. What we didn’t expect was a global pandemic to further complicate this process. The emergence of COVID-19 in early 2020 further exposed the limitations of this year’s Core Indicator data. Although data are beginning to emerge on the impacts of COVID-19 on family planning, suspended national-level surveys and their inability to quickly capture long-term effects on health outcomes means it may take several years before we’ve fully captured the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on contraceptive use and related outcomes.
Still, in the final FP2020 progress report, we were able to look at the current year estimates and analyze trends since 2012.
The first part of the measurement section reports on Core Indicator estimates prior to the onset of the pandemic, providing insight into the pace of progress on key measures of contraceptive use. Data shows a landmark 60 million additional users of modern contraception since 2012, halfway to the initial, ambitious goal of 120 million additional users, along with sustained increases in modern contraceptive prevalence (MCP) – particularly in FP2020 countries in Africa.
The second part of the section uses model data and survey comparisons to assess trends from 2012 to 2020. The analysis examines different aspects of change beyond expanded contraceptive use. Changes in “ever use” of modern contraception in high-fertility countries suggests more women are using contraceptives to fulfill their personal fertility intentions. High rates of MCP growth are observed in FP2020-commitment countries, in comparison to non-commitment countries. Meanwhile, comparing changes in contraceptive prevalence between different sub-populations in FP2020 countries suggests many countries saw MCP gains across different dimensions of equity.
Additionally, changes in method mix show shifts toward long-acting and more effective methods, while increases in the Method Information Index point to women receiving more information about methods and side effects – both critical elements of rights-based family planning . Still, the data also suggests there is room for improvement. See the full measurement section for more insight into this year’s data.
In addition to examining changes in contraceptive use over the past eight years, the final FP2020 Progress Report also sheds light on the current state of financing for family planning, drawing on several data sources. Donor government funding remained at its highest level since 2012. The report features our most comprehensive accounting of domestic government expenditures to date, with data from 54 FP2020 countries amounting to nearly US$1.6 billion in spending. Meanwhile, estimates of family expenditures across the 69 FP2020 countries total $4.4 billion. Country-specific estimates of total expenditures are also available for 9 countries. For more information, see the full financing section.
The final FP2020 Progress Report is a testament to the commitments, collaboration and community that have defined the partnership since 2012. It highlights many signs of progress, but also underlines where more work is needed, setting the stage for FP2030. Additional information and resources are available in the Progress Report, including interactive data graphics, estimate tables and links to the work of FP2020 partners.