PACE Explores the Future of Family Planning in SSA

Kaitlyn Patierno

Dear IBP Network colleagues,


PACE is pleased to announce the launch of our newest report, “The Future of Family Planning in Africa: Toward Equitable, Data-Driven, Client-Centered Programs.”


This report examines the status of family planning programs in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa since the 2016 release of Fostering Economic Growth, Equity, and Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa: The Role of Family Planning. To better understand progress and challenges that may shape the trajectory of rights-based family planning programs and inclusive development in the region in the coming decades, we explore questions such as: Where has contraceptive use increased? What are the implications for fertility trends? How are trends in family planning use related to trends in poverty and economic inequality? What impact has the COVID-19 pandemic had on access to and use of family planning services? Key takeaways include:


  • Countries with high and/or increasing modern contraceptive prevalence rates (mCPR) have made robust programmatic investments in data collection and use, suggesting the essential role data and evidence play in programs supporting access to family planning.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on family planning use does not appear to be as severe as originally feared. The pandemic has underscored the importance of timely data collection and management systems that are resilient to shocks.
  • In many countries in SSA, declines in fertility following growth in mCPR use continue to be smaller than historical trends in other regions of the world, due in large part to the use of family planning for spacing rather than limiting births. While shifts toward limiting births may be underway, policymakers should carefully consider the assumptions that underlie their demographic projections—which are often based on global trends—as well as the implications of increasing and varied family planning demands on health systems and social infrastructures, particularly education, training, and employment.
  • Significant disruptions in education during the pandemic—especially for girls—and subsequent high rates of teenage pregnancy underscore the urgent importance of collaboration between the health and education sectors to mitigate effects on girls’ well-being.
  • Increases in mCPR are being driven not just by improvements in women’s socioeconomic status but also by family planning program efforts.
  • Differences in family size between the richest and poorest segments of the population are contributing to resource inequality among children within countries, slowing the next generation’s progress toward equality of opportunity.
  • Creating a culture of continuous use of data for decision-making and scaling up effective digital solutions can contribute to more efficient program prioritization and implementation.


The report is available in English and French.





Kaitlyn Patierno
Program Director, International Programs

Deputy Director, PACE Project

kpatierno@...  |  +1.202.939.5462  



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