Advocacy Win in Zanzibar Contributes to 70% Drop in Family Planning Commodity Forecasting Errors

Advance Family Planning

By Joan Komsoon, African Women’s Development Fund

The Director of the Central Medical Stores in Zanzibar, Tanzania directed a total of 66 staff at the Ministry of Health across all 10 districts to be re-trained in November 2014 as a result of African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning (AWLN) members’ advocacy. The re-training led to a 70% drop in family planning commodity forecasting errors at the facility level.

This significant reduction is a direct result of AWLN’s advocacy activities over the last 10 months, which focused on identifying the delays in the flow of commodities from the Central Medical Stores (CMS) to the facilities. The delays often resulted in stock-outs and lack of access to contraceptives for women and youth in the 10 districts of Zanzibar. Zanzibar has an average contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 17%.

A 2014 assessment revealed that reproductive health officers at the facility level responsible for providing stock level information were not providing accurate requirements. This created an artificial shortage at the facility level, while creating a backlog of supplies in the medical stores. The CMS customer care officers cite frequent and long periods of stock-outs at facility level, which led to women and girls’ eventual disinterest in using contraception, contributing to low CPR in most of the districts.