Challenges and Successes in Family Planning in Afghanistan


Through the Hewlett Foundation–funded Accelerating Contraceptive Use Project (2004–06), MSH achieved increases of 24–27 percentage points in the contraceptive prevalence rate in three rural areas of Afghanistan. Although cultural factors and misconceptions about family planning presented obstacles, both this project and REACH (a larger, USAID-funded project) found that religion in Afghanistan, which is 99% Muslim, is not a barrier to expanding family planning services. Emphasizing the use of birth spacing to protect the health of mothers and children, engaging clinicians and communities in culturally sensitive ways, and increasing the number of female community health workers supported rapid scale-up of contraceptive use.