Next week, thousands of family planning champions will convene in Nusa Dua, Indonesia for the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) to share experiences and strategies for improving worldwide access to quality family planning services. The newly launched Global Financing Facility (GFF) for Every Woman Every Child has the potential to accelerate these efforts and help countries reach the estimated 225 million women with an unmet need for family planning services.
The GFF is a bold initiative to help catalyze a healthy mix of donor funds, loans, and domestic financing to accelerate country efforts to end preventable maternal, child, and infant deaths by 2030. Meeting the unmet need for family planning is critical to these efforts. By closing the US $33.3 billion annual financing gap for reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH), high burden countries could prevent up to four million maternal deaths, 101 million child deaths, and 21 million stillbirths between 2015 and 2030. These numbers are staggering and exciting.
But in order to achieve these results, not only do high-quality services need to be accessible, but so do life-saving supplies, wherever people seek care. Functioning, well-performing supply chains will therefore be the backbone of GFF success.
JSI has been working with governments and donor partners to strengthen supply chains and promote commodity security in countries for more than 30 years. We have witnessed how the changing global funding landscape and health sector reform efforts can affect availability of essential health commodities, particularly for reproductive health and family planning products. Too often, health supplies and the supply chain systems that deliver them are afterthoughts in these efforts.
As GFF front-runner countries finalize their investment cases and the GFF Investors Group continues to develop the GFF architecture, we encourage early consideration of the critical role that essential commodities and the supporting supply chains play in ensuring we meet our commitments to women in need of reproductive health services. This could be supported through a few key provisions:
- At the global level – ensure immediate engagement and regular participation of supply chain experts in the GFF oversight group of donors and partners developing and reviewing plans, policies, proposed assessments, and indicators.
- At the country level – set minimum standards to ensure investment cases include adequate financing for key RMNCAH and nutrition commodities and supply systems; and support ongoing monitoring in the front-runner countries to ensure availability of family planning commodities does not decline.
Given its potential to rapidly shift the funding landscape, GFF will no doubt be a big part of the discussions at ICFP. Meeting the global commitment to women and the SDGs will require more than a commitment to increased country financing. It will also require a commitment to support and strengthen the systems needed to make sure products are continuously available wherever and whenever a woman goes to get them. We hope that family planning commodities and supply chains will be part of these discussions and a critical part of the GFF investment cases.