Contraceptive security

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Contraceptive security (CS) is a situation in which people are able to reliably choose, obtain, and use quality contraceptives and condoms for family planning and sexually transmitted disease (including HIV and AIDS) prevention when they want them.[1] The term refers primarily to efforts undertaken in developing countries to ensure contraceptive availability as an integral part of family planning programs.

Organizations, usually government health agencies, work to ensure clients have long-term access to a range of high quality contraceptives and other essential health supplies. A framework and tool, the Strategic Pathway to Reproductive Health Commodity Security (SPARHCS), was developed in 2004 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and partners to help countries identify and prioritize key commodity security issues; assess current capacity for commodity security among country or regional programs, systems and policies; and shape commodity security strategic plans.[2] Measures taken to provide contraceptive security may include strengthening contraceptive supply chains, forming CS committees,[3] product quality assurance, promoting supportive policy environments, and examining financing options.[4]

Strengthening commodity security requires routine monitoring of donor and government commitment, policies, stakeholder coordination, and supply chain information. Tools including the CS Indicators [5] and the CS Index offer ways of measuring contraceptive security, and allow comparisons over time and across countries.[6] A recent analysis of 48 countries’ CS Index scores from 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012 carried out by the USAID | DELIVER PROJECT indicates that all regions improved on measures of supply chain, financing, health and social environment, access, and utilization, with the greatest progress made in sub-Saharan Africa.[7]

Subsidized products, particularly condoms and oral contraceptives, may be provided to increase accessibility for low-income people.

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