The 3rd National Conference to Reposition Family Planning in the DRC lays groundwork for Permanent Multi-sectorial Technical Committees at the provincial level

At the 3rd National Conference to Reposition Family Planning in Kinshasa, provincial ministry representatives agreed that establishing Permanent Multi-sectorial Technical Committees (CTMPs) in each province would be an important step in implementing the 2014-2020 National Strategic Plan for Family Planning. The national CTMP, a multi-sectorial committee comprised of government, civil society, and faith-based organization leaders, has been a strong driver of family planning support. Established following the second national conference on family planning in 2009 and operational in 2012, the CTMP’s technical family planning experts undertake advocacy efforts at the national level. The national CTMP and stakeholders are hoping for the same outcome at the subnational level from provincial CTMPs (CTMPPs).

The third national conference (Dec. 3-5, 2014) gathered approximately 450 participants, including participants from 11 provinces: all the Ministers of Health; Gender, Family and Children; and Planning; all 11 inspecting doctors and all coordinating doctors of the Reproductive Health Program who oversee family planning; as well as three ministers representing the central government.

AFP’s DRC partner, Tulane International, took advantage of the conference as an advocacy opportunity to further their Year 3 objective to translate national political commitments to policy and implementation at lower levels of government. They organized two four-hour SMART facilitations with representatives of the 11 provinces. Health Ministers and Medical Inspectors from Kinshasa, Bandundu, Equateur, Kasai Occidental, and Kasai Oriental convened for the first day. The following day representatives from Bas Congo, Province Orientale, Nord Kivu, Sud Kivu, Maniema, and Katanga met.

Both facilitations included lively discussions about factors for consideration in establishing an operational CTMPP in each province and when it could be realistically achieved. The SMART tool helped participants identify advocacy priorities at the provincial level, set advocacy objectives, and define next steps to monitor the implementation of their program.

Results of the SMART session:

  1. The participants of each province have unanimously decided to:
    1. Implement functional CTMPPs in their respective provinces by June 2015.
    2. Mobilize local resources to support the coordination and functioning of the CTMPPs.
  1. The different provinces, through the Provincial Minister of Health of the Equateur Province, committed to allocate funding to support family planning activities in their respective provinces.
  1. The Prime Minister’s signature of the decree should be obtained rapidly to make the CTMPPs official and facilitate their implementation at the provincial level. 

Following the national conference, on Dec. 17, 2014, organizers released official recommendations that came out of the conference. The recommended action-oriented objectives continue family planning progress made at the national level and, for the first time, lay groundwork for significantly strengthening efforts at the sub-national level. Simultaneously, the Province of Kinshasa called for its first brainstorming meeting on the implementation of the CTMPP for the city of Kinshasa.

Tulane International is leading a collaborative effort of national and provincial leaders and donors to launch the CTMPP implementation in three initial provinces: Bas Congo, Katanga, and Kinshasa. The team plans to identify the actors already involved in family planning and establish a coordination structure at the provincial level; organize SMART workshops at the provincial level to support the implementation of the CTMPPs; identify potential organizations that are able to financially and technically support the CTMPPs; and provide technical assistance from the central level.

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