3.3.5 Case Study – SAF-PAC Initiative

Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care Initiative (SAF-PAC) 

The ongoing Supporting Access to Family Planning and Post-Abortion Care (SAFPAC) initiative led by CARE, is an example of programming that addresses the strains on health infrastructure and workforce in crisis situations. Since its beginning in 2011, the project has provided contraceptives, including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), to refugees, internally displaced persons, and conflict-affected resident populations in Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Mali, and Pakistan.


SAFPAC’s strategy focuses on 4 broad interventions drawn from public health best practices in more stable settings: competency-based training for providers, improved supply chain management, regular supervision, and community mobilization to influence attitudes and norms related to family planning. The approach promotes sustainability by establishing in-country training centers to build capacity in clinical skills training and supervision of new providers. In addition, monthly supervision using simple checklists has improved program and service quality, particularly with infection prevention procedures and stock management. We have generally instituted a “pull” system to manage commodities and other supplies, whereby health facilities place resupply orders as needed based on actual consumption patterns and stock-alert thresholds. Finally, reaching the community with mobilization efforts appropriate to the cultural context has been integral to meeting unmet family planning needs rapidly in these crisis-affected settings. Despite the constraints in crisis-affected countries, such as travel difficulties due to security issues, in our experience, we have been able to extend access to a range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives, in such settings using best practice approaches established in more stable environments.

Between July 2011 and December 2013, the initiative reached 52,616 new users of modern contraceptive methods across the 5 countries (catchment population of 698,053 women of reproductive age), 61% of whom chose long-acting methods of implants or intrauterine devices. The percentage of new users choosing LARCs varied by country: 78% in the DRC, 72% in Chad, and 51% in Mali, but only 29% in Pakistan. In Djibouti, those methods were not offered in the country through SAFPAC during the period discussed here. In Chad, the DRC, and Mali, implants have been the most popular LARC method, while in Pakistan the IUD has been more popular. Use of IUDs, however, has comprised a larger share of the method mix over time in all 4 of these countries. These results to date suggest that it is feasible to work with the public sector in fragile, crisis-affected states to deliver a wide range of quality family planning services, to do so rapidly, and to see a dramatic increase in the percentage of users choosing long-acting reversible methods.

Adapted from  “Delivery High Quality Family Planning Services in Crisis Affected Settings” article series published in Global Health: Science and Practice (GHSP). Training Materials