Family Planning - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

We work with countries that are committed to expanding access to high-quality, voluntary family planning to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Our deepest engagements are in India and Nigeria. We also work with public and private partners and make selected investments in Indonesia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

In francophone West Africa, we are core members of the Ouagadougou Partnership for Family Planning, and support Senegal and Niger to implement supply and demand approaches that can inform practice across countries in that region.

We work to keep family planning on the global agenda and to hold donors and developing countries accountable for their commitments to support family planning. Our work in this area includes grantmaking, direct advocacy, communications counsel and support, and engagement with leaders.

To monitor changes in contraceptive use and help all FP2020 countries track annual progress toward their goals and improve program performance, we are investing in rapid surveys that will provide data on family planning use in 6- and 12-month intervals, supplementing country-wide health surveys that provide data only every 3 to 5 years.

A mother and newborn in Uttar Pradesh, India

We are also leading the effort to harmonize the way various organizations track family planning resources. The new data systems will use standard metrics and provide reliable data at the national and sub-national levels. Better data and monitoring are crucial to holding donors, governments, programs, and providers accountable.

Better service delivery is critical to expanding access to and use of contraceptives, particularly in the poorest countries with the weakest health service infrastructure. We build evidence about what works to address supply and demand barriers on a large scale and in multiple countries, promote collaboration between the public and private sectors on delivery solutions, and synthesize and communicate research findings to donors, countries, and partners.

Some women do not access or use contraceptives for a variety of reasons, even when they want to avoid pregnancy. They may have misconceptions about their risk of becoming pregnant, or be deterred by the cost, inconvenience, or concerns about side effects. In some cases, opposition from family members or a limited range of available methods can be a key factor in non use. 

Less than 20 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and barely one-third of women in South Asia use modern contraceptives.

Continued innovation in contraceptive technology is needed to address these barriers and meet the demands of women in different circumstances and at different stages of their lives. We support the discovery, development, and distribution of new technologies that address reasons for non-use, with a focus on improving acceptance and continued use among priority user groups: women who have achieved their desired family size, women who are not using an existing methods due to side effects, and young women.  These long-term investments will address contraceptive needs far beyond 2020 and will also include collaboration with the foundation’s HIV program to develop new technologies that prevent both pregnancy and HIV acquisition.