Harmonizing Family Planning Stockout Indicators


Global initiatives, like the Millennium Development Goals or FP2020, require key performance metrics to understand what progress is being made, and where further investments are required. The process of developing and adopting those indicators requires technical expertise, data acumen, and deep consultation with the stakeholders.

The FP2020 Initiative is working to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020. Quality, consistent data is key to understanding who is using family planning and ensuring a mix of methods is routinely available around the world. Consensus on a core set of performance indicators and their definitions enables more effective and efficient system strengthening efforts, programmatic interventions, and advocacy.

In 2013, the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition’s Systems Strengthening Working Group (SSWG) identified the need to “speak the same language” specifically on product availability and stockouts as a strategic priority.  To craft this set of indicators, the Coalition launched an effort to develop a harmonized suite of stockout indicators, with technical leadership from the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT and then directly under contract with JSI.

The process of developing the core set of indicators was highly consultative, and leveraged decades of JSI expertise in logistics services. We first conducted a landscape analysis, through use of a survey, key informant interviews, and desk-based review. With input from our Advisory Group within the SSWG, we then developed a draft suite of indicators that could be applied—in full or in part—across country programs and organizations. This draft indicator suite was tested through facility visits in Zambia and through use of electronic LMIS data from Bangladesh, and the suite’s indicators and definitions were refined following the field testing.

Testing stockout indicators in the Zambia.
Testing stockout indicators in Zambia.

The indicator suite is now finalized and being documented in a reference guide, which provides a set of reference sheets fully defining each indicator. The suite contains four indicator categories: products or methods offered, point-in-time stockouts, range of methods available, and frequency and duration of stockouts over time. It contains one primary indicator for each of the four categories, including one “universal” indicator for all country programs and organizations that collect stockout data to use.

In April 2015, the FP2020 Reference Group granted final approval adopting two primary indicators from the indicator suite as the stockout indicators upon which the FP2020 countries will be required to report. These are the universal indicator (point-in-time stockout primary indicator) and for range of methods available.

The next step in this indicator harmonization process is widespread adoption. Therefore, JSI has begun working with PAI and the SSWG to help guide the development of an advocacy plan supporting adoption of the four primary stockout indicators by the six largest bilateral, multilateral, and non-governmental providers of reproductive health services and products.