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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNC: Sustainability is Key for Long-term Success of Nigerian Family Planning Initiatives

Family planning programs in Nigeria have been successful in influencing the population to accept and adopt the practice of family planning and increase usage of modern methods of contraception. However, an adequate plan is necessary to address the sustainability of these effects after the program ends. This is according to research in two new studies from Dr. Ilene Speizer, professor of maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health.

The studies collected data from women and health care facilities in two Nigerian cities, Ilorin and Kaduna, which were part of the Phase I roll-out of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI). The initiative, working in 5-year phases, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Understanding the sustainability of a family planning program is important. A program that is sustainable reaps long-term benefits from its investment after it ends, and it can also further the outreach of its message to a broader range of the population. While both studies examined long-term sustainability of the NURHI program in the two Nigerian cities, one study focused on facility-level service quality, while the other focused on the overall sustainable impact NURHI programming had on family planning behavior in Ilorin and Kaduna.

“Rarely do donors or programs examine what happens after the funding ends,” said Dr. Speizer. “In this case, we were fortunate that the donor was interested in this important question and willing to learn from the findings for improving their future family planning programs with an eye toward sustainability and not just designing one-off programs for the duration of the funding.”

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