Contraception & Family Planning

In her home, a young Indian woman learns about various contraceptive methods from an Accredited Social Health Activist or “ASHA.”

Each home visit is an opportunity to respond to multiple health needs; in Ethiopia, a health extension worker counsels her clients in 16 areas, including family planning, maternal and child health, HIV prevention, sanitation, and nutrition.

Pathfinder works with public health teams to identify and address gaps in services—including stock outs of contraceptives—for women who rely on them.

Pathfinder advocates consistently and effectively with government leaders, medical health professionals, and influential local stakeholders to develop policies and funding that support contraceptive programs. (KENYA)

In 2015, women and men made 5.5 million visits for contraceptive services at health facilities supported by Pathfinder.

For more than 55 years, improving access to contraception and family planning has been core to Pathfinder's mission. Pathfinder has worked in more than 100 countries and implemented large scale service delivery programs focused on contraception across sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, and South Asia. Our goal is to advance opportunities for women, men, and adolescents to make choices about their sexual and reproductive health through access to contraceptive services and information.

Contraceptive services and knowledge offers individuals the ability to make key decisions about their sexual and reproductive health so they can take control of their lives. Empowered to make decisions about if, when, and how often to have children, women and girls can stay in school, develop income-earning skills, determine the size and timing of their families, and play an active role in ensuring their family's welfare. For men, contraceptive services and information enable supportive partnerships and ensure couples can make decisions together about their health and futures. Support for both women and men to access contraception and family planning is key to fostering gender equity and benefitting the health and strength of communities everywhere.

By addressing a vast unmet need—more than 225 million women currently want, but lack access to family planning—Pathfinder helps individuals prevent unintended pregnancy, space births for optimal health and well-being, and reduce the risk of illness and infection.

Key approaches for all of our contraceptive and family planning work include:

  • Expanding access to quality information and services with a focus on bringing services closer to the client and at the same time improving the quality of care at facilities.
  • Improving the integration of services so that each visit is an opportunity to respond to multiple health and contraceptive needs.
  • Addressing cultural, social, economic, and logistical obstacles to contraceptive availability by focusing on the intersection of community and health systems.
  • Advocating at international, national, regional, and local levels to ensure availability and funding for contraception and family planning.

Currently, Pathfinder has a range of contraception and family planning projects around the world.

Related Projects

Access to Primary Healthcare Project

Access to Primary Health Care Project

Pathfinder works to improve primary healthcare in the Democratic Republic of Congo by supporting reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health services.

Accountability in the Reproductive Health Sector

PAST PROJECT: Using Community Scorecards, this project empowered citizens in Tanzania to improve the quality of their own reproductive health services.

Family Planning in Myanmar

Addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Myanmar

Pathfinder continues to explore, identify, and advocate for increasing attention and funding for sexual and reproductive health programs in Myanmar.


Related Publications

April 2016

Expanding Contraceptive Options for Postpartum Women in Ethiopia: Introducing the Postpartum IUD

This technical brief explores the process through which Pathfinder’s Integrated Family Health Program (IFHP+) has expanded availability of postpartum family planning, including the postpartum IUD, in Ethiopia.

April 2016

Young Mothers Take Control of Their Future

Today, half the world’s population is under 25. This issue of Pathways explores how young mothers like Dorothy are exercising their sexual and reproductive rights—and taking control of their future.

March 2016

Providing Reproductive Health Services to Young Married Women and First-time Parents in West Africa: A Supplemental Training Module for Community Workers Conducting Home Visits

This training aims to give community health workers conducting home visits to young married women and first-time parents (FTPs) the knowledge and skills needed to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of these groups. This training is designed for use in francophone West Africa, where a significant proportion of adolescent girls aged 15–19 and young women aged 20–24 are married or living in union, but it can easily be adapted for other settings.

March 2016

Providing Reproductive Health Services to Young Married Women and First-time Parents in West Africa: A Supplemental Training Module for Facility-based Health Care Providers

Young married women and first-time parents (FTPs) face a unique set of challenges to living healthy sexual and reproductive lives. This training aims to give health care providers the knowledge and skills they need to meet the needs of these groups. This training is designed for use in francophone West Africa, where a significant proportion of adolescent girls aged 15–19 and young women aged 20–24 are married or living in union, but it can easily be adapted for other settings.


Related News

Haryana becomes 1st to launch injectable contraceptive

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that the 'Project Salamati' which is being implemented by state health department with the assistance of Pathfinder International, is initially being implemented in nine health blocks of four districts of the state.

Expanding Access to the Intrauterine Device in Public Health Facilities in Ethiopia: A Mixed-Methods Study

Following the introduction of IUDs into the Ethiopian public health sector, use of the method increased from <1% in 2011 to 6% in 2014 in a sample of 40 health facilities. This shift occurred in the context of wide method choice, following provider training, provision of post-training supplies, and community-based awareness creation. The IUD was acceptable to a diverse range of clients, including new contraceptive users, those with little to no education, those from rural areas, and younger women, thus suggesting a strong latent demand for IUDs in Ethiopia.

Barriers to "Morning After" Pill

The ‘morning after’ pill is effective up to five days after unprotected sex. Often confused with medical abortion pills, the pill's high price puts it out of reach for most women.

“Lack of awareness, bias of service providers, lack of requisitioning, no proper study done regarding its uptake” are further major barriers to ECP use, Tauseef Ahmed, country representative of Pathfinder International, a family planning and reproductive health NGO, tells SciDev.Net. 

Global Health Leaders Call to Expand Contraceptive Choice for Adolescents and Youth to Include Long-Acting Reversible Methods

Leading global health organizations discussed their commitment to a new Global Consensus Statement supporting the expansion of contraceptive choice for young people to include long-acting reversible contraceptives at the International Conference of Family Planning.
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