Burkina Faso's Stewardship of Family Planning Access is Model for the Region
In December 2019, Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health launched a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan to measure its progress on increasing contraceptive access. The finalization and implementation of the M&E plan was an important milestone showcasing the country’s commitment to increasing modern contraceptive prevalence, which now at 30.7 percent is, impressively, the highest in the West Africa region. The story of Burkina Faso’s success is characterized by strong political will, a well-structured multisectoral effort, and savvy leadership, combined with support by the USAID-funded Health Policy Plus (HP+) project to implement and monitor its costed-implementation plan (CIP)—the National Plan for Accelerating Family Planning (PNAPF) 2017–2020.
The commitment to increasing contraceptive access and use across West Africa is strong, but implementation of CIPs had been uneven across the region. In Burkina Faso, the Ministry of Health initially lacked a clear framework to execute the ambitious plan during its first execution period from 2013 to 2015. Lessons learned from early stumbles fueled a renewed commitment by the Ministry of Health to improve implementation and monitoring. This led to the formation of a multisectoral steering committee (Comité de Pilotage or “CoPil”), with participation from representatives across government ministries, civil society, and the private sector.
With HP+ advocacy and support, and under Ministerial order announced in mid-2019, the steering committee created four multisectoral, thematic advisory groups to provide recommendations and evidence for action. Instrumental to this effort is Dr. Ida Kagoné, the technical secretary in charge of accelerating the demographic transition at the Ministry of Health, who has been a champion of this structure and whose role in the creation and formation of these groups has been fundamental. The four advisory groups focus on:
- Demand creation
- Resource mobilization
- Adolescents and young people
- Access and contraceptive security
Each thematic group is chaired by a representative from the Ministry of Health and co-chaired by representatives from civil society or the private sector. This governance structure is outlined in the ministerial bill and demonstrates the government’s commitment to its success. The thematic groups meet quarterly to analyze financial gaps, build advocacy cases for financial and material resources, review progress and make recommendations, and prepare reports to the steering committee. These technical reports inform the steering committee’s decision making at its semi-annual meetings. It was at the thematic group level that the case was taken up for the creation and implementation of the CIP M&E plan, then endorsed by steering committee members for uptake.
In addition to making recommendations for the creation of the thematic working groups and calling for the development of a CIP M&E plan, the steering committee also identified the need for an ambassador to act as a national champion for family planning in the country based on input from the thematic groups. The structure of Burkina Faso’s approach on family planning is a unique model among Ouagadougou Partnership countries that will be key to the sustainability of this effort and the continued increase in contraceptive prevalence rates. The invaluable contributions of the thematic advisory groups will continue to inform planning, including for the 2021–2025 CIP.