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A Matter of Fact, a Matter of Choice: The Case for Investing in Permanent Contraceptive Methods (PDF, 3.2MB)
September 2014
Demand to limit further childbearing will continue to rise in low-resource countries as desired family size continues to fall. If family planning programs are to fully meet the needs and preferences of the women and men they serve, across their entire reproductive life cycle, it is essential that both female sterilization and vasectomy become meaningful method options in low-resource countries. This report provides data on use of permanent methods, analyzes challenges to their wider availability, and describes programming approaches that have resulted in widespread, equitable provision of permanent methods at a national scale in Malawi and Tanzania. The paper argues that making permanent methods widely available and equitably accessible as a voluntarily chosen method option in low-resource countries is not only feasible, cost-effective, and popular with clients—it is an ethical imperative. 

Updated Consensus Statement Emphasizes Joint Commitment to Including Family Planning in Postabortion Care
November 2013

Calling for a renewed commitment to the health of women following induced abortion, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), International Council of Nurses (ICN), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), Department for International Development (DFID), and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have issued a joint consensus statement on the importance of family planning service provision to women when they are treated for postabortion complications.

The statement commits the endorsing organizations to ensure that voluntary family planning counseling and services are included as an essential component of postabortion care in all settings, empower and serve postabortion women of all ages to prevent unintended pregnancies and further abortions, and provide information on optimal pregnancy spacing for those women who want a pregnancy. It lays out the rationale for offering family planning to women in such circumstances and reviews the intervention approaches that can be followed.

The RESPOND Project, managed by EngenderHealth, led the process of finalizing the consensus statement.

The statement is available in English (PDF, 2MB), Spanish (PDF, 840KB), and French (PDF, 840KB). 

The Importance of Voluntary Family Planning and Its Provision by Our Members
May 2011

Despite the remarkable progress made over the past four decades, the need for family planning services across a woman's life cycle is large and will continue to grow for many years to come. Many cadres of trained health providers, including doctors, midwives, nurses, clinical officers, and community health workers, play an important role worldwide in providing quality family planning services. However, basic competencies in both family planning (FP) counseling and service provision are often not consistently present in preservice education and in-service training for doctors, midwives, and nurses. This reduces the ability of these cadres to provide-and women and men to access-the full complement of FP methods and services.

International professional organizations like the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO), the International Congress of Midwives (ICM), and the International Council of Nursing (ICN) provide important technical and normative guidance to health care providers and organizations around the world. They also can play a critical role as advocates for FP and long-acting and permanent methods of contraception (LA/PMs) with their global networks. 

To this end, the RESPOND Project has collaborated with these organizations to strengthen their capacity to advocate, promote, and support the efforts of their members to provide FP and LA/PM services through the development of a joint consensus statement that:

  • States the importance of FP (its contribution to women's empowerment and individual health, family welfare, and community and national development (Millennium Development Goal 5 and others)
  • Supports the right of women to universal access to FP (as a part of sexual and reproductive health (SRH))
  • Makes explicit the critical role that midwives and nurses have to play as providers and managers in FP and RH programs in delivering these universal health services, including that there be no policy or program barriers to their doing so

The consensus statement is available in English (PDF, 682KB), French (PDF, 690KB), Spanish (PDF, 690KB), and Russian (PDF, 772KB)

Family Planning: A Key Component of Post Abortion Care
Developed in collaboration with the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the International Council of Nurses, the International Confederation of Midwives, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), this joint consensus statement seeks to reenergize support and health service action for postabortion family planning. The statement focuses on meaningful changes that can be made to help health providers, particularly nurses and midwives, to begin thinking about clients' voluntary use of safe and effective contraceptive methods for spacing of pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion anad the related risk of morbidity and mortality. 

The statements are available in English (PDF, 133KB), Spanish (PDF, 1MB), French (PDF, 351KB), and Portuguese (PDF, 793KB). We encourage program staff to familiarize themselves with this important document and share it with colleagues and local partners, as appropriate.

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Photo credits: M. Tuschman/EngenderHealth; A. Fiorente/EngenderHealth; C. Svingen/EngenderHealth.

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