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Financing Family Planning in Low-Income Countries

More Ethiopian women are using family-planning services than ever before, but the Ministry of Health faces a country-wide shortage of contraceptives. As a result, the government has developed innovative health-financing strategies to close the funding gap in the short term and to increase country ownership in the long term.

ADDIS ABABA – As a busy young mother of four living in a remote village in Ethiopia, Amina could not always attend her appointments at the health clinic to receive her injectable contraceptive. So, when Selam, a health worker at the clinic, walked her through the available options, Amina was excited to learn about a long-acting reversible implant that would obviate the need for regular visits.

Selam noticed that more women were choosing long-acting implants for similar reasons. But with her clinic experiencing an implant shortage, she worried about running out of the family-planning methods on which patients like Amina relied. Unfortunately, the situation at Selam’s clinic is not unique: health centers across the country are contending with supply problems.

More Ethiopian women are using family-planning services than ever before: the country’s contraceptive prevalence rate jumped from 8% in 2000 to 41% in 2019. Our government has increased funding for family planning and focused on expanding access at the community level, employing 42,000 health workers across 18,000 posts, all of which has helped us achieve remarkable progress.