It's a Wrap: Health Policy Plus Culminating Event Features Family Planning Advances
After an impactful seven-year run, Health Policy Plus (HP+) concluded it end-of-project dissemination on September 7 and 8, 2022, at its “Family Planning Share Fair.” Two days of virtual events gathered the project’s technical leaders in policy, advocacy, financing, and governance along with senior leadership in USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health (PRH)—Ellen Starbird, Bev Johnston, and Veena Menon—to review the project’s family planning results, tools, and lessons learned. Day two of the Share Fair featured rapid fire sessions on 10 adaptable models, tools, and approaches, just a subset of more than 30 new tools and models developed under the project.
“Your efforts to galvanize support for evidence-based family planning policies, sustainable financing strategies, and responsive tools are part of the legacy that we hope will help countries meet the family planning needs of their people,” said Ellen Starbird, Director of USAID's PRH Office, who provided opening remarks at the event kick-off. She also stressed the expertise of locally led teams in forging trusted collaborations and context-driven solutions whose impact will last beyond the length of the project.
Project Director, Suneeta Sharma, opened the session by recapping the expanse of the project’s family planning/reproductive health work and the depth of its impact. This includes support for the mobilization of more than $59 million in domestic funds for family planning and increased contraceptive prevalence rates in countries where HP+ supported the development and implementation of national and district-level costed implementation plans (CIPs). Noting the successful collaboration, she said: “Our USAID colleagues have been our tried-and-true partners over the past seven years. I want to thank our colleagues at each Mission, whose creativity and ingenuity allowed us to create responsive and contextualized activities.”
The plenary session showcased how the project delivered activities that support the PRH Office’s high-level outcomes of increased availability, demand, and resources for high-quality family planning services, information, and programs. Deputy Director for Family Planning, Jay Gribble, offered lessons learned for future family planning programs, including the importance of nuanced and contextualized approaches informed by local voices; multisectoral engagement across and beyond the health sector; meaningful engagement of youth; and a systems approach. All with a laser focus on equity.
Technical leaders Laura Hurley, Anne Jorgensen, Alyson Lipsky, and Dara Carr and country directors Modibo Maiga of the West Africa regional office and David Khaoya of the Kenya country office, shared “closer looks” at efforts supporting PRH objectives. These included CIP successes, challenges, and lessons learned; joint accountability approaches that localize global commitments and galvanize stakeholder action; and domestic resource mobilization for family planning scale-up, with a case study from Kenya.
The final day of the virtual Share Fair provided a deeper dive into several tools developed to provide data, evidence, and approaches. Each tool, model, and approach is designed for local adaptation and provides stakeholders, including policymakers, youth, advocates, and networks, avenues to collect and communicate evidence needed to make the case for action.