Why is family planning in the DRC important?
Increasing coverage of family planning in the DRC is one of the most effective ways to reduce infant and maternal mortality. DRC’s annual population growth rate of 3.4% ranks among the highest in the world and it is high fertility rates that drive this growth.
The vast majority of women (88%) and men (95%) are familiar with at least one modern method of contraception. However, only 20% of married women are using any method of contraception and only 8% are using a modern method. In fact, the preliminary 2013-14 DHS results further show that 28% of married women have an unmet need for family planning.
How ASSP Increased Coverage of Family Planning in the DRC from 5% to 22%
Family planning is critically important for ensuring the survival of children and women. Thus ASSP’s ultimate goal was to increase the overall contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) from five to at least 10 percent in the project’s health zones. The CPR measures the percentage of women who are using (or whose partners are using) any method of contraception. In the end, ASSP was able to increase coverage to 22% in its project health zones.
ASSP achieved this by first improving access, integration, and utilization of Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FP/RH) services.
Then ASSP generated local demand for high-quality FP/RH services using innovative behavior change communication activities.
Simultaneously, ASSP integrated “youth-friendly services” into selected project-supported health centers to promote sexual reproductive health services for youth and adolescents.
Finally, ASSP improved the quality and sustainability of FP/RH services through health systems strengthening and service delivery strategies.
In Year Five, there were 394,974 new acceptors of modern methods of family planning. As a result, ASSP achieved 110% of its Year Five target. ASSP achieved this result by improving the availability of contraceptives and scaling up services offered at project health facilities.
ASSP achieved 283,966 number of couple years of protection (CYPs) in Year Five. Thus beating its target by 145%. ASSP achieved these results through family planning service provision, enabling families to exercise choice in planning their families and spacing births.