New Tool Measures Impact of Government Family Planning Programs on Meeting Contraceptive Demand

A new research approach provides evidence that can be used to hold governments accountable for the success of public programs in satisfying demand for family planning, according to “The Role of Public-Sector Family Planning Programs in Meeting the Demand for Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa,” by John Bongaarts and Karen Hardee of the Population Council. The article, which examines data from national surveys in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, proposes a new measure called the public-sector family planning program impact score (PFPI) and demonstrates its use to show why it is a valuable addition to existing indicators designed to understand trends in contraceptive behavior.

While measures currently used by researchers who study these trends center on the demand for contraception and its use within studied populations, the new indicator specifically focuses on the role of public-sector family planning programs. Because it reveals unique information not directly captured by other measures—such as modern contraceptive prevalence, unmet need for modern contraception, demand for contraception and proportion of demand satisfied—PFPI can be used to hold governments accountable for fulfilling their commitments to ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health care, and for meeting family planning needs.

The journal article is available in English, Spanish, and French.