Over 2.1 million women in Malawi are now able to access modern methods of contraception, up from 1.4 million in 2012, a new Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) Progress Report indicates.
The report, titled FP2020 Catalysing Collaboration, shows that Malawi’s uptake of modern contraceptive methods is growing by 1.5 percent annually since 2012, making the country one of the three with the fastest growth in contraceptive use alongside Liberia and Mozambique.
But although Malawi is making progress, it will not achieve the target set during the 2012 London Family Planning Conference to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) to 60 percent by 2020.
Briefing the press prior to the launch of the report on Monday in Kigali, Rwanda, FP2020 managing director Martyn Smith said although Malawi has made good progress, it may still fall short of achieving its target as the FP2020 projection shows that the country’s modern contraceptive prevalence rate (MCPR) will only rise to 47.8 percent by 2020.
“Malawi has made very impressive progress and donors are committed to continue supporting the country towards achieving its targets,” he said.
Smith said domestic financing and political will are key to achieving the FP2020 targets.
Currently, Malawi’s health budget is heavily financed by donors, raising fears that the country may lose any gains made towards universal access to health as the reliance on donors is not sustainable.
Minister of Health and Population Atupele Muluzi revealed at the joint annual review of the health sector last month that donors contribute 62 percent of the country’s total health expenditure, with government putting in an estimated 25 percent while households cover 13 percent.
A recent report by Care Action and the Graca Machel Trust on national budget commitments to nutrition also shows that about 93 percent of Malawi’s nutrition financing is from donors, with government providing a paltry 7.3 percent.
The FP2020 progress report is one of the key documents launched during this year’s International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) 2018 underway in Rwanda, which has brought together over 3 700 delegates from across the globe.
Based on the report, as a result of the increased modern contraceptive use, Malawi has averted 3 800 maternal deaths, 183 000 unsafe abortions and 830 000 unwanted pregnancies. For the first time, the FP2020 annual report also includes information on domestic government spending on family planning in 31 countries, but data on Malawi is not included.
Addressing the press during the launch, UNFPA executive director Natalia Kanem said urged governments to increase their commitment towards attaining universal access to family planning to consolidate the gains made so far.
She said: “Let us build on the progress we’ve made until we achieve our ultimate goal of universal access.”
The FP2020 is a global partnership focused on enabling an additional 120 million women to access voluntary and quality contraception by 2020.
The ICFP is held biennially since 2009, providing an opportunity for scientists, researchers, policy makers and advocates to disseminate knowledge and identify next steps towards reaching the FP2020 goal of enabling increased access to family planning.
This year’s ICFP is themed Investing for a Lifetime of Returns.