The UK is one of the largest European donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and an active proponent of family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) within ODA. Despite a tight economic climate, the budget of the Department for International Development (DFID) has remained ring-fenced, with support to ODA and in particular to FP/RH remaining strong.
In order to leverage greater support and funding for family planning, DFID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brought together major stakeholders at an FP Summit in July 2012 in London. At the event DFID committed £516 million (US $800 million) over eight years to reach the Summit goal of enabling an additional 120 million women and girls in the world’s poorest countries to be using modern family planning methods by 2020.
A significant shift in attitude towards international development has also come through, with a greater focus on evidence-based interventions that prove value for money. There are some concerns that the emphasis on results-based programming could lead to neglect of the harder-to-measure components of RH and FP. There has also been some concern that the increase in commitment towards FP/RH might lead to a decrease in HIV/AIDS activities in Country Operational Plans. Work by the Countdown 2015 Europe UK partner is being done to support building a strong evidence base for FP/RH in its entirety, and to continue to promote integration.
FP/RH are major components of all the Country Operational Plans for the 27 countries DFID has identified as priority countries to receive ODA. The UK either directly supports FP/RH through providing funding through health sector support, or through NGOs with the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Framework agreement. The UK has also provided direct commodity procurement support for FP in some countries – for example, as part of a £30 million project in Uganda working with UNFPA.
- DFID Business Plan 2011-2015 (released November 2010)
- Health portfolio review 2009 (released November 2010)
- Working paper for DFID’s research strategy: Better Health (2008-2013)
- Choices for Women: Planned pregnancies, safe births and healthy newborns’ (December 2010)
- Towards Zero Infections: The UK’s position paper on HIV in the developing world (May 2011)
- DFID Evidence Paper: Interventions to reduce unintended pregnancies (December 2010)