Building Blocks for FP2020 in Pakistan and Nigeria
Building Blocks for FP2020 is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project designed to support and advance family planning in Nigeria and Pakistan, two countries that have made ambitious goals for improving access to reproductive health care in the next decade.
In both countries, Pathfinder focuses on creating an enabling policy environment, empowering influential individuals and organizations to champion family planning as a catalyst for creating healthier communities nationwide. Pathfinder works closely with national and provincial governments to create effective and lasting change for women and families who need it most.
In Nigeria, Pathfinder advocates for improved access to a range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting methods, through task sharing.
In the past, various regulations have prevented lower level health workers from administering different contraceptive methods, such as injectables and implants. That’s where task sharing comes in.
Driven by the idea that no one health provider can do it all, task sharing allows a wider range of cadres to offer certain services. When done safely and effectively, task sharing is an effective way to expand access and improve health care, particularly for vulnerable populations.
Recently, regulations changed to allow community health workers to administer injectables, which is a step in the right direction. Allowing more nurses, midwives, and potentially, community health workers to administer implants will greatly increase access to long-acting methods of contraception.
Pathfinder will continue to advocate for these kinds of policy changes by promoting task sharing on a greater level. Pathfinder hopes to achieve these changes through concerted advocacy efforts aimed at regulatory and professional agencies.
Pathfinder will also support the development of a family planning budget and work plan in Nigeria. The project will also help Nigeria address operational bottlenecks related to technical capacity.
Pakistan faces unique challenges in reducing its high unmet need for contraception. Cultural, social, and gender barriers persist as well as structural and systematic challenges. Additionally, there is an inadequate budget to meet the national need for family planning services and lack of coordination among Departments of Health and Population Welfare, which have hampered the effective implementation of reproductive health programs.
To address these challenges Pathfinder advocates for family planning on two fronts:
- Establishing family planning as a priority within the health and development framework and as an obligation of provincial governments
- Guiding provinces to allocate and spend a certain proportion of their budgets to promote family planning and meet FP2020 commitments
- Pathfinder promotes family planning as a health intervention, with references to the health benefits of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, messaging is understood and accepted throughout Pakistan.
Through Building Blocks for FP2020, Pathfinder hopes to empower local champions for family planning, including government officials, to improve policies, programs, and budgets for family planning at provincial level in Pakistan.
Pathfinder broadened government support for the deployment of community midwives as providers of family planning services.
Community Actions to Improve Safe Motherhood in Charanchi, Katsina State, Nigeria under the Population and Reproductive Health Capacity Building Program
The project provided capacity building support for two local community-based organizations, including the rollout of Pathways to Change, and mobilized the organizations to identify barriers in the use of quality maternal health services.
In Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, Pathfinder aims to improve the capacity of community-based organizations to better prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Demographic expert Dr Tauseef Ahmed, while speaking at a workshop organised by non-government organisations Subh-e-Nau and Pathfinders, said that if we fail to invest in the youth, not only they will be unskilled and uneducated but they will stay unemployed.
Pathfinder International head Dr Tauseef Ahmed said that most of the youth was now being dubbed “uneducated, unskilled, and devoid of aspirations”. He said growing population is a cross-cutting issue all over the world, he said.