Leadership and Commitment Advances Family Planning in Burkina Faso
Bourahima Fabéré Sanou is the mayor of Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city in Burkina Faso. With a population of just over one million and a contraceptive prevalence rate of 16.7 percent… according to DRS/Hauts-Bassins. Mayor Sanou is the portrait of a leader who stands by his commitments to expand family planning access and advance his community.
In 2018, at a sub-regional family planning workshop supported by USAID through the Health Policy Plus (HP+) project, the mayor made a commitment to allocate 20 million francs (CFAF), or US$33,000, to support the implementation of family planning activities in his city. Immediately following the workshop, Mayor Sanou took action. He designated a municipal agent to lead and monitor execution of family planning activities for the city. He advocated within the Association of Municipalities of Burkina Faso to convince his peers to get engaged in family planning initiatives. In addition – and perhaps most importantly – he created a budget line item for family planning within the municipal budget.
A year and a half later, the impact of the mayor’s efforts is evident. Bobo-Dioulasso has effectively implemented its commitments to promote family planning. Leveraging the CFAF 20 million in funds, great strides have been made in carrying out training and awareness-raising activities, providing contraceptives to health centers, and implementing service delivery campaigns in health centers and professional establishments. Under Mayor Sanou’s stewardship, the municipality mobilized additional financial resources from the International Association of Francophone Mayors, bringing the total amount of family planning funding to nearly US$124,000 (approximately 74.7 million CFAF).
These activities have reached both formal and informal health workers, community leaders, and school-based peer educators. The funds raised have supported the acquisition of informational materials and equipment, covered logistical costs for campaigns and events, and enabled advocates to develop a series of advocacy sessions and family planning campaigns.
As a result of Mayor Sanou’s leadership, the results are multiplying:
- Health workers, community workers, and community leaders are now activity engaged in family planning promotion activities.
- Collaboration among the Regional Health Department, Health Districts, and nongovernmental organizations involved in family planning has increased.
- Demand for family planning and sexual and reproductive health services among adolescents and women of reproductive age has increased.
- Demand for contraceptive products has increased, with 1,335 new users being added to the existing 2,578, contributing to a substantial improvement in the country's family planning indicators.
Mayor Sanou exemplifies how a committed leader can make a difference within a community. By contributing to the improvement of family planning services under his jurisdiction, his actions demonstrate how leaders engaged in family planning initiatives can have an impact, improving the health and well-being of their communities.