Why Family Planning?
IMA invests in access to and knowledge of family planning and reproductive health services for women, men and couples as a critical factor in improving maternal and child health in fragile settings and helping individuals, families, communities, and societies thrive. As a faith-based organization, one of IMA’s core values is serving vulnerable populations; in service to this value, IMA supports women and couples experiencing vulnerability to make informed decisions about where and when to expand their families using voluntary FP methods that align with their own values and beliefs. In addition to supporting health goals, this work also strengthens a country’s social and economic development, with effects seen across development areas including economic growth and employment, food security, and education.
Success Story: Increasing Family Planning Coverage from 5% to 22% in the DRC
The Democratic Republic of Congo has an annual population growth rate of 3.4%, which ranks among the highest in the world. This is one factor fueling the country’s high maternal and child mortality rates. Ensuring access to high-quality family planning services allows women and couples to safely space pregnancies and provide for their families, enabling healthier mothers and babies, households, and communities.
Through the Access to Primary Health Care Project (ASSP), funded by U.K.’s Department for International Development, IMA works with the Ministry of Health in 56 health zones in the DRC. From 2012-2019 the modern contraceptive prevalence rate (mCPR) rate in IMA-supported health zones increased from 5 to 22%, more than double the project performance goal.
This achievement is especially compelling because in 2016 an outbreak of violence displaced roughly a third of the project’s target population. Many health centers temporarily closed, leaving potential gaps in service. Yet ASSP—powered by IMA’s two decades of navigating challenges in the DRC—met and exceeded many of its maternal and child health goals, including those for family planning.
For example, ASSP supported the recruitment of 394,974 new acceptors of modern methods of family planning in project year 5, achieving 110 percent of the annual target. It also supported 283,966 couple years of protection (CYPs) in year 5, achieving 145% of the target.