Donor Funding Cuts to Family Planning Hit Poor Countries

[LAGOS] Donor funding for family planning in 59 low- and middle-income countries has dropped by more than $100 million in 2020, putting women at risk of unsafe abortions and death, a report find.

The report by FP2030 and the Kaiser Family Foundation, said cuts to UK overseas aid were the main driver of the decline, and warned that further funding cuts in the future could jeopardize progress made over the past decade.

Despite losing support, contraceptive use in low- and middle-income countries prevented 135 million unintended pregnancies, 28 million unsafe abortions and 140,000 deaths of women of reproductive age last year, according to the report.

“The focus for the next decade must be on building sustainability, with diversified funding flows and efficient use of resources.”

Jason Bremner, FP2030

“The focus for the next decade must be on building sustainability, with diversified funding streams and efficient use of resources,” says Jason Bremner, manager of data and performance management at FP2030, a partnership worldwide focused on family planning.

“A combination of country-led domestic resource mobilization and greater private sector involvement will create a more stable and holistic approach to financing family planning.”

The report assessed funding for family planning services in 59 countries, including Djibouti, Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Tanzania, including donor government funding and national government spending.

It was found that bilateral or donor funding from foreign governments increased from US$1.5 billion in 2019 to US$1.4 billion in 2020.

The report cites the United States as the largest bilateral donor to family planning globally in 2020, contributing 42% or $592.5 of total bilateral funding. This is followed by the United Kingdom with $266.5 million (19%) and the Netherlands with $202.3 million (14%), but there are funding disparities between low- and middle-income countries.

“Donors accounted for less than 1% of family planning spending in Indonesia, but up to 72% in Mozambique,” the report said.

Adam Wexler, associate director for global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, says the decline in funding in 2020 is largely due to the UK, partly due to cuts in official development assistance resulting from COVID-induced economic contractions.

Three donor governments increased their funding (Canada, France and Sweden), four decreased it (Denmark, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom) and three remained unchanged (Australia, the Netherlands and the United States), explains Wexler .

Bremner adds that international donor funding for family planning seems unlikely to increase significantly in the coming years.

“For lower-middle-income countries in particular, the transition from donor aid is a looming challenge. They are expected to contribute more from domestic resources and make do with less donor resources, to maintain family planning gains,” says Bremner.

Chioma Nwakanma, founder of Nigeria-based SMILE with Me Foundation, a nonprofit health education organization, says contraceptive care encompasses both health education and family planning services, and that when these these are lacking, the community and the whole nation suffer.

“A nation will suffer in the sense that there will be an increased incidence of unsafe abortions, high maternal mortality rates, a population explosion, high rates of uneducated children. [people] and high crime rates, among other things,” she says.
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Nwakanma believes that to address these vices, African governments must ensure that they fund family planning with little or no donor funds. “A community is as healthy as its women,” she adds.

Bremner agrees, adding that family planning contributes to several key health and development outcomes in any country, starting with reducing pregnancy complications, maternal mortality, and infant mortality. and juvenile.

“Family planning is one of the best investments in health and social development a country can make, as it is linked to improved educational and economic outcomes for women, girls and families, as well as to increased engagement in decision-making,” Bremner said. SciDev.Net.

This piece was produced by the UK Sub-Saharan Africa office of SciDev.Net.

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