Helpdesk Report: Family Planning Services
- What is the evidence of the increase in the use of family planning services having an impact on health outcomes such as reduction in unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and reduced fertility?
- What is the evidence of family planning services delivered through the public sector having an impact on uptake of family planning i.e. increased contraceptive use for women of reproductive age?
- What is the evidence of family planning services delivered through the public sector having an impact on equity i.e. increasing the contraceptive use amongst the poorest?
There appears to be a trend of increasing uptake of family planning programmes and increasing equity of uptake. It is difficult to establish cause and effect with the impact of public sector family planning programmes. However, sections 2 and 3 look at the evidence on this issue. This includes general overview papers as well as several case studies. A study on Central America shows this trend alongside improvements in national family planning programmes and a study on Ethiopia and Pakistan gives an analysis of the different types of service. There are variations by region and country, and between the types of methods offered (long-term vs. short-term).
Family planning services have a positive impact on health outcomes such as reduction in unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and reduced fertility. The evidence for this is presented in sections 4-6. Contraceptive services can reduce abortion rates. The rate of safe abortions has dropped significantly however the unsafe abortion rate has declined hardly at all, so this is an important distinction to make. There is very strong evidence that family planning reduces fertility levels and unwanted pregnancies.
Holley, C. Helpdesk Report: Family Planning Services. Human Development Resource Centre, UK (2012) 16 pp.