Assessing Policies and Practices that Affect Contraceptive Financing and Procurement. A Review Guide, April 2010
(2010; 52 pages)


This guide will provide governments, donors, and other relevant stakeholders with a framework to assess the policy environment for procuring and financing contraceptives. The guide examines policies and practices to identify whether they are supporting or hindering the performance of such financing and procurement. A country’s finance and procurement systems determine whether supplies are financed, procured, and delivered in a timely manner. Supportive and functioning policies related to procuring and financing contraceptives provide an enabling environment and, when implemented effectively and efficiently, serve as the foundation for the effectiveness of those systems. Although tools and approaches have been developed to address challenges related to other aspects of contraceptive security, few address in detail the necessary policies and practices. Analyzing the policy environment related to procuring and financing contraceptives can help determine the root causes of a health system’s poor performance and can identify opportunities for improvement. This guide can be used as a diagnostic and monitoring tool to accomplish the following:

  • Understand the policy environment related to procuring and financing contraceptives in a country;
  • Identify existing policy barriers that may be hindering contraceptive security;
  • Improve procurement policies and practices that affect contraceptive financing and procurement;
  • Plan a smooth transition from donor-procured commodity support to government-financed or basket-funded commodity procurement by government agencies;
  • Improve implementation of policies where the practice does not match the policy;
  • Develop evidence to support advocacy for increased financing of contraceptives or for more efficient financing and procurement mechanisms;
  • Monitor how financing and procurement policies are implemented.

More important, this guide is about both policies and practice and their implementation. Although countries may have well-designed policies, they may not be implemented appropriately (strictly, correctly, fully) or efficiently. This guide thus examines the prescribed procurement or the financing policies and procedures or both to determine where bottlenecks exist and which specific operational aspects should be addressed to improve the situation. Alternatively, if countries lack clear policies or guidelines, it is important to determine

(a) how decisions are, nonetheless, made;

(b) which key actors are involved in the decision making process; and

(c) whether additional or modified policies are needed to address operational shortcomings.

By examining the rules, regulations, guidelines, and practices that governments use to translate laws and polices into program implementation, one can gain a better understanding and appreciation for the challenges or barriers to financing and procuring a country’s contraceptive needs.

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