The government reports that its expenditure on family planning increased by 70% from 2012 to 2013. Many more development partners are now offering support, primarily with RMNCH, and there is a strong presence from DFID, USAID and UNFPA. Zambia has a significant skills gap and needs more funding for human resources.
The Ministry of Health is collaborating with John Snow, Inc. (JSI) to strengthen the supply chain for family planning commodities. JSI and the Ministry of Health have recruited a reproductive health logistician and trained 10 provincial pharmacists. Commodity availability is reported to be 100%, with no stock-outs.
The Ministry of Health is working with Jhpiego on a fast-track scale-up of contraceptive implants. In 27 of 72 districts, community health assistants have been trained on implant insertion and counseling. Task-shifting is also being piloted with volunteer community-based distributors.
Zambia is working with chiefs and traditional leaders to increase demand and sensitization. Preliminary data collected for the country scorecard indicate that there is increased demand, especially in areas where there are community-based distributors and active dialogue with traditional leaders has been conducted. The Ministry of Health is still searching for a model to use to engage religious leaders.
Early this year, the government of Zambia approved its first-ever budget line for reproductive health supplies, including contraceptives. The government allocated US$9.3 million for fiscal year 2014 to supplies. Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia was a leading voice in making the case for the budget line, with an advocacy grant from the Opportunity Fund, a flexible source of funding for family planning advocacy managed by Population Action International for Advance Family Planning.
Sources: Zambia Ministry of Health, via SEEK interview; the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health.