Improved FP program within the UHC framework

Key local health leaders of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) came up with action plans to accelerate the family planning (FP) program in BARMM during a leadership training with the Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF). The region targets to increase the modern contraceptive prevalence rate among all women from 24.9% in 2017 to 30% by 2024.

Hampering the implementation of the FP program in BARMM are weak forecasting and distribution, ineffective inventory management and reporting of FP commodities, limited consultation on budget allocation, and an insufficient number of skilled workers to provide quality FP services.

To address these issues, the two-day training under the BARMM-Health partnership program of the ZFF and the University Research Company (URC) is designed to develop bridging leadership (BL) competencies among local health leaders. The BL framework, through the three processes of ownership, co-ownership, and co-creation, fosters greater personal accountability for social health issues and harmonious collaboration with different stakeholders to overcome challenges.

BARMM-Health will help capacitate the regional implementation team for the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) Law that will provide technical assistance on supply chain management, health human resource, and financing to FP priority areas. The program focuses on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) but is ultimately aimed at strengthening provincial health systems to contribute to the implementation of Universal Health Care (UHC). UHC requires a resilient health system that gives fair access to high-quality, inexpensive health care goods and services, including SRH programs.

Participants in the sessions held on May 18 and 19 in Davao City included the Bangsamoro Darul Ifta (BDI), Ministry of Health (MOH), and Ministry of Interior and Local Government. The BDI, an influential advisory council, will reproduce the fatwa (a legal ruling in Islamic law) on FP in the BARMM to reach the grassroots. It will also translate the fatwa into khutbah (sermon delivered by the imam or Muslim prayer leader) to reconcile the opposing perspectives on FP of the Muslims.

There were also representatives from the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Office, the Bangsamoro Women Commission, and the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority. All the participants will discuss their action plans in the quarterly meeting of the BARMM Regional Implementation Team (BRIT) in June 2022. The action plans include organizing the regional supply chain management committee and warehousing FP commodities.