Population Reference Bureau
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USAID under the PACE (Policy, Advocacy, and Communication Enhanced) project
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Expanding Contraceptive Method Choice for Successful Family Planning Programs


This Policy brief prepared by the Population Reference Bureau, the brief highlighted that Successful family planning programs listen to the different needs of clients and respond with strategies that expand informed, voluntary contraceptive choice: offering a range of affordable contraceptive methods; providing client-centered, comprehensive counseling; employing a variety of service delivery approaches; and ensuring continuous supplies of contraceptive commodities. Expanding individuals’ contraceptive choices supports increased and continuous contraceptive use, enabling more women and couples to realize their ambitions for themselves and their families and helping communities and nations achieve their development goals.




Decision makers and programmers can do more to ensure that method choice is a reality for all individuals, regardless of their age, reproductive goals, or life circumstances. The following strategies offer specific investments that can advance

contraceptive method choice across all populations.

Identify gaps in current method choice, using existing tools such as the FPE Index, to identify which methods are not realistically accessible to the majority of the population. This inventory will help channel investments in expanding choice to those with the greatest needs.

Train providers to offer unbiased, balanced counseling so that users are fully informed when choosing a contraceptive method. Providers should not impose their personal judgment, but should present the client with a clear description of the full range of methods and nonjudgmental counseling to select a method that aligns with the client’s preferences, lifestyle, and reproductive and health needs.

Remove medical and legal barriers that restrict access to a full range of methods. Requirements for spousal or parental consent limit method choice. The World Health Organization Medical Eligibility Criteria is a guide for aligning  service-delivery policies for contraceptive methods with evidence-based best practices.

Adopt diverse service delivery approaches to expand method choice throughout the health system and in periurban, rural, and hard-to-reach areas, where choice is often most limited. This includes task-shifting policies that allow lower-level health providers and community-based distributors to administer contraceptive methods such as injectables and implants.

Update essential medicines lists and strengthen supply chains to ensure that a variety of methods are available and in stock at service delivery points. Decision makers should review their national list of essential medicines to ensure that at least one contraceptive method from every category is included. Decision makers at multiple levels can invest in strengthening supply chains to protect against stock-outs and guarantee that a full range of methods is on hand in clinics.

Increase funding for contraceptive commodities to meet growing demand. As leaders and decision makers continue to improve family planning programs and expand method choice, they will need to balance cost implications against the best quality services for their clients. Demand for services and commodities may also grow as large youthful populations reach reproductive age and the quality of services improves. Increasing and carefully investing funds to meet these growing needs will be necessary.