WORKING GROUP MEMBERS
“India’s greatest challenge is its diversity,” says Dr. S.K. Sikdar, Deputy Commissioner in charge of family planning in India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. “Whereas some policies do wonderfully well in some regions of the country, the same policies may not do as much in other regions.” Dr. Sikdar has been involved in family planning for a decade, and he notes that the Ministry of Health has scored a number of wins in its efforts to adapt to local conditions. “When you make policies and programs keeping the women in the far-flung villages in mind,” he says, “you are very likely to succeed.”
Nevertheless, many challenges remain. Dr. Sikdar feels that the FP2020 movement has come at exactly the right time. “Countries across the world have been doing a lot in family planning over the last three to four years, but FP2020 has been a catalyst to the whole movement,” he says. “In our country we are really embracing FP2020 in a very big way as an advocacy and enabling mechanism, to provide family planning services to all our women.”
The key, says Dr. Sikdar, is that FP2020 is a broad-based coalition that unites partners across sectors and across the globe. The possibilities are immense. “For the first time, all the countries of the world—with different cultures, different creeds, different capacities—have really come together on a single platform for a common, unified goal.”
Fatimata Sy is the Coordination Unit Director for the Ouagadougou Partnership, a regional coalition to expand family planning in nine francophone nations of West Africa. “Most of the francophone West African countries are really lagging behind in terms of family planning,” she says. “We have the lowest contraceptive prevalence rates compared to lusophone and anglophone countries in the same region.”
But the Ouagadougou Partnership, which was inaugurated in 2011, is sparking a transformation. “[It] is helping countries to reposition family planning,” says Ms. Sy. Government commitment and donor coordination have increased throughout West Africa, and contraceptive prevalence rates are starting to rise. Each of the nine countries in the Ouagadougou Partnership has developed a costed implementation plan.
“We are now creating momentum at the country level and global level around family planning,” says Ms. Sy. “I believe in this movement because we’re now seeing a great interest from donors and countries to talk about family planning, linking family planning to other strategies that will decrease maternal mortality and strengthen the rights of women and girls.”
As Ms. Sy points out, family planning interventions require significant resources, both technical and financial. Coordination among donors and partners is key. The Ougadougou Partnership and FP2020 are working to ensure that collaborations are efficient, taking advantage of existing resources whenever possible. “I think we’re already doing some excellent things together—the same action plan, using the same focal points, calling meetings that advance the family planning agenda in francophone West Africa.”