Resource Spotlight: The Effects of Decentralization on Family Planning: A Framework for Analysis

Photo by DFID
Photo by DFID

As countries move toward models of decentralization, the health sector is greatly impacted. Lower-level actors, such as regional governments, local governments and independent agencies often assume responsibility for human resources and governance, say researchers at the Health Policy Project.

"The implications for [Family Planning] programs are profound and wide-ranging,” they write in a recent report called “The Effects of Decentralization on Family Planning: A Framework for Analysis.” Calling the record of decentralized family planning projects, “mixed” the authors argue that the “potential for adverse effects is substantial.”

From the report:

FP stakeholders are often excluded from the decision-making processes surrounding decentralization, leading to gaps and weaknesses in policy frameworks guiding FP decentralization. Decentralization reforms may overwhelm the capacity of lower-level organizations to fulfill new functions. Moreover, in some countries, decentralization has led to family planning not being a priority as local-level authorities reallocate resources to other areas. Local authorities may not understand the importance of family planning or may see it as contrary to traditional gender norms or religious beliefs. There is an urgent need to better understand how decentralization reforms impact FP programs and services.

The group has created a framework to help stakeholders understand the decentralization process and family planning and guide reforms to benefit clients and support the achievement of international family planning commitments.

Please read the resource on The Effects of Decentralization on Family Planning: A Framework for Analysis.

For additional resources on these topics, please see the Decentralization and Family Planning subject areas.

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