Family Planning

Access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right, and if women can plan the number of children they have and properly space their births, around half of preventable maternal deaths could be eradicated. Family planning is also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment and is a key factor in reducing poverty. 

Access to safe, voluntary family planning is a human right, and if women can plan the number of children they have and properly space their births, around half of preventable maternal deaths could be eradicated. Family planning is also central to gender equality and women’s empowerment and is a key factor in reducing poverty. 

Unmet need for family planning 

In the Philippines, while the total fertility rate has reduced significantly over the past decades, many poor Filipino couples remain unable to fulfill their reproductive rights. Serious gaps in family planning services remain with 17.5 per cent of women of reproductive age having an unmet need for family planning, while the use of modern contraceptives remains low at 23.5 per cent of all women of reproductive age. 

Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law

UNFPA Philippines provides focused support to the family planning program in the country by providing technical assistance in the implementation of the Reproductive Health Law. It supports government institutions in the development of strategic plans for family planning programs, including reproductive health commodity security and logistics management, linking demand generation and service delivery and engaging civil society groups as partners in the provision of family planning services. A total of 244,685 women have been reached with family planning services by UNFPA partners from 2012 to 30 June 2017.

Business Action for Family Planning Access (BAFP)

The Business Action for Family Planning Access (BAFP) project works to encourage private sector engagement in family planning either in the workplace, community-based or as a core business. Launched in 2014, it is jointly co-funded by UNFPA, UN Foundation, MSD through its MSD for Mothers initiative, and Accenture Development Partnerships. 

Since 2015, the project has been able to reach almost 1.4 million individuals through family planning sessions in the workplace and in communities. In the next 18 months, the project aims to reach out to another 3 million individuals through the provision of family planning learning sessions, counselling and onsite service delivery for employees of the four current and nine new partner companies.

History of the BAFP Project

The involvement of the private sector provides a venue for family planning integration and ensures that structures and systems to sustain access to quality information, counselling including commodities are in place.  To realize this vision, project implementers reached out to companies globally and piloted the project in the Philippines.

At the country-level, UNFPA Philippines partnered with the Employer’s Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) to support BAFP partner companies like Avon-Philippines, Bagosphere, CARD-MFI, and Hamlin Industrial Corporation to develop four modalities of engagement of private sector companies on family planning (FP) participation.

These modalities are: 1 FP installation in the workplace; 2. FP as Corporate Social Responsibility; 3. FP as a core-business and 4; FP as CSR and FP installation mix.  These modalities ensure the sustainability of the project within their economic environment and consequently enable more women to practice healthy timing and spacing of their pregnancies and empower women to seek and keep better jobs.

UNFPA supports these partner companies in building their capacity to provide their employees with accurate FP information and increase employees access to FP commodities through adoption of corporate policies on FP, development of Training the Trainers (TTT) Module and information materials for their employees and clients.

BAFP has proven that there is significant demand and commitment from private sector organizations in the Philippines to offer family planning programs to their workers and communities. These commitments are responsive to country needs and aligned to government priorities to foster a sustainable partnership between businesses and government and provide replicable models for other countries.

Encouraging more companies to commit to this project means developing a strong value proposition, highlighting both the social impact as well as the economic returns for companies to invest in family planning. The private sector is an important actor in the Philippines as the sector can influence decision-making, advocate for policy change and set new benchmarks on how enterprises can responsibly engage on public health and other social issues.