Jhpiego’s record of achievement in reproductive health and family planning perfectly positioned the organization for its global leadership role in addressing the unmet need for family planning among postpartum women. Committed to the ethos of “no missed opportunities,” Jhpiego integrates family planning for postpartum women into existing maternal, neonatal and child health services to ensure that women, from city to village, receive the family planning method they want and need. This approach has yielded impressive results.
As a maternal health issue, postpartum family planning (PPFP) is crucial because pregnancies during the first year after childbirth hold the greatest risk for the mother and her baby. This time period also presents the greatest number of opportunities for contact between new mothers and health care providers.
Jhpiego began its work in PPFP in 2005 with funding from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and today, Jhpiego supports more than 20 countries in introducing and implementing PPFP programs. In India, for example, Jhpiego has played an integral part in the government’s strategy to revitalize use of the postpartum intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD). As a result, more than 80,000 women have received postpartum IUD services across 19 states since 2008. This work has also been supported by USAID’s global Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program (MCHIP), which Jhpiego leads, and several private funders.
Jhpiego’s work in PPFP is yielding results in other areas around the world, for example:
- In conservative northern Nigeria, Jhpiego’s work resulted in significant improvements in the use of modern family planning methods by postpartum women, which increased from 1 percent percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2010.
- In Afghanistan, PPFP was introduced at the community level in all 34 provinces, and the contraceptive prevalence rate increased nationally from 10 percent in 2005 to 20 percent in 2010.
- In Kenya and Liberia, new areas of PPFP integration are being piloted with nutrition and immunization programs.
In addition to this work, in July 2012, Jhpiego and MCHIP contributed significantly to the publication of “The Statement for Collective Action for PPFP.” The statement is a milestone in global efforts to reach postpartum women with lifesaving services to help them plan their families. Developed in collaboration with USAID and the Department of Reproductive Health and Research of the World Health Organization (WHO), the statement aims to galvanize support for the promotion of integrated PPFP programs to reach women in the first year after birth. AusAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), UNFPA, World Bank and various other international nongovernmental organizations have also endorsed this statement.
To help translate the statement into strategic guidance, MCHIP, in collaboration with WHO members and with the support of USAID, is developing programming strategies for PPFP to provide government ministries and program implementers with practical, programmatic strategies for integrating PPFP in the context of maternal, newborn and child health programs.
By helping its partners provide family planning services to women when they are most at risk, Jhpiego continues its efforts to save the lives of women and families around the world.