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 2011, through Pathfinder-supported programs, women and men made more than 5 million visits to health facilities for contraceptive services.

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 222 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 Healthcare 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

Using Community Scorecards, this project empowers 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 2014

Reproductive Choice: Protecting Nature and Human Rights

Right now, communities face two interconnected crises—how to protect their health and the environment they depend on. The problems are complex. And Pathfinder is up to the challenge.

March 2014

Integrating Family Planning in Primary Health Care and HIV Care and Treatment Services in Mozambique

This technical update discusses how Pathfinder’s Extending Service Delivery–Family Planning Initiative has begun to integrate family planning into existing services, including primary health care and HIV care and treatment in Mozambique.

March 2014

A Holistic and Coordinated Approach to Community-based Family Planning across Projects in Mozambique

This technical highlight provides a brief overview of shared, salient project components employed by the SCIP and ESD-FPI projects for generating demand and improving supply of contraceptives.

March 2014

Cue Cards for Counseling Adolescents on Contraception - Myanmar (Multiple Languages)

The set of cue cards is designed to help a range of community- and facility-based providers to counsel adolescents and young people on their contraceptive options.


Related News

See How Condoms Reach the Most Remote Villages in Africa

Condoms remain some of the most effective and affordable tools for combating unintended pregnancy. But how do condoms get to people who live in some of the hardest-to-reach corners of the world?

Tanzania-based photographer Sala Lewis traveled with global health organization Pathfinder International to document the Tuungane program in Tanzania, which brings condoms from the urban center of Kigoma to the small villages around the Mahale National Park. Project staff travel to the field at least once every two weeks, delivering what ever supplies are needed — contraception, anti-malaria drugs or even a new radio.

Pathfinder to Launch CommCare as part of Groundbreaking mHealth Initiative in Haiti

SSQH release
This spring, Pathfinder is kicking off monumental mHealth work for our Services de Santé de Qualité pour Haiti (SSQH) Central and South project.

Spacing: The Key to Sustainability

On Bussi Island, health and environment are intrinsically linked. Pathfinder's Health of People and Environment project teaches communities about how best to keep their families and the environment they depend on healthy.

The clinic teaches women the importance of “spacing”  and offers a variety of options including cycle beads, condoms, pills, intrauterine devices and implants. Family planning methods, such as delaying and spacing out children, are among the most effective ways to better the lives of families and directly contribute to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals of reducing infant mortality and improving maternal health.

Join The Nature Conservancy and Pathfinder International for "7 Billion and Counting: Population and the Planet"

On April 28, a panel of leading thinkers will tackle the question of whether population growth must harm nature and its ability to sustain life.
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