Reproductive Health Steering Committee Discusses Updated Strategy

The Steering Committee of the National Reproductive Health/ Family Planning Strategy (2013-2018) and focal points from strategic partner agencies discussed the mid-term results during a meeting organized by the Higher Population Council today. The meeting reviewed the updated National Reproductive Health/ Family Planning Strategy (2013-2018) in light of the mid-term review.

The strategy aims to achieve a reproductive health/ family planning environment in Jordan to support the demographic transition (lowering total fertility rate) and help reduce maternal and child mortalities, achieve family wellbeing from a rights-based approach through various pillars including the enabling legislative environment and policies, accessible comprehensive and equitable information, and positive social attitudes and behaviors.

The meeting presented the 2016 mid-term monitoring and evaluation results with respect to the outputs and interventions listed in the 2016 executive plan of the strategy. The report touched upon the actual national interventions achieved in the first six months of 2016, as well as the required activities within the framework of national stakeholder interventions in the same period.

The total number of activities planned for implementation during the first half of this year amounted to 67 activities to achieve outcome-level interventions and output indicators. 48 activities were implemented within the planned timeframe, constituting 72 percent of the total planned activities, which fall under the three main outcomes of the plan. On the other hand, 19 activities still need follow-up and support during the reporting period, representing 28 percent of the total activities.

The report recommended establishing new partnerships with private sector institutions, to implement and identify solutions, ensure sectoral support, and intensify efforts and coordination with academic institutions to reach out to youth, as they are the largest segment of the population and can potentially impact various aspects of life. The report also recommended that the necessary policies, programs and measures be proposed to reduce fertility rates to encourage women to enter the labor market, and forge partnerships between the Higher Population Council and different media outlets to unify the language used in the media and deliver a clear message about overpopulation and raise awareness of reproductive health/family planning issues.

The report stressed the importance of making more family planning options available and identifying criteria for assessing the quality of services, in addition to focusing on youth and raising their awareness of the demographic challenges and negative economic, social and health impacts resulting from rapid population growth, the large number of births, the lack of family planning, and our religion’s view of family planning in order to create an educated generation aware of the importance of population-related issues.

The report pointed out that not giving priority to standardizing information and spreading awareness of population and reproductive health/ family planning issues in the media is a challenge.

According to the report, the failure to allocate the necessary funds for reproductive health / family planning initiatives in the budgets of national institutions is another key challenge that impacts the sustainability of donor-supported family planning initiatives, and consequently leads to the inability to follow up on successful policies produced by projects and donors.

During the meeting, project director, Makiko Kumasawa, presented the results of the household survey of ever married women aged between 15-49 years in rural areas in Irbid Governorate. Kumasawa is the director of a project funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve services in secondary healthcare centers in rural areas hosting Syrian refugees, implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.