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Mind the gap: responding to the global funding crisis in family planning
  1. James N Gribble, ScD, Senior Technical Research Associate1,
  2. Victoria Jennings, PhD, Professor and Director2 and
  3. Minna Nikula, MD, MPH, Researcher3
  1. The POLICY Project, The Futures Group International, Washington, DC, USA
  2. Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
  3. National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health, Helsinki, Finland
  1. Correspondence Dr James N Gribble, The Futures Group International, 1050 17th Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036, USA. Tel: +1 202 775 9680. Fax: +1 202-775-9698. E-mail: j.gribble{at}


The widening gap between the cost of meeting family planning needs and the funding available for commodities and programmes is a concern among policymakers and reproductive health professionals. The gap could reach US$210 million by 2015. Its causes are clear; its solutions are not. While changes in programme method mix and cost shifting could address this gap, an often-overlooked alternative is the development and introduction of effective, low-cost methods. The Standard Days Method™ (SDM) has a first-year failure rate of only 4.8 (correct use) and is acceptable to many women around the world. It is easily integrated into programmes. Many SDM users rely on CycleBeads™ to help identify the days when pregnancy is likely. Though already meeting couples' needs in many places, the SDM responds in a unique way to needs in settings with high use of traditional methods, high levels of unmet need, and chronic depletion of commodities. The donor gap could have negative consequences, but it also facilitates reassessing family planning programme policies to include other effective, low-cost methods.

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