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Mapping SRH Financial Fund Flows

One aims of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2018 to 2021 strategic plan is to strengthen national data systems and improve demographic intelligence. This will help provide governments with critical information in decision making, especially in crisis situations such as Covid-19. In the Philippines, UNFPA contracted ThinkWell for the project, “Support to the DOH in Evidence-based Policies to Protect Vulnerable Populations: Mapping Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Funds Flow and Evidence Generation for the COVID-19 Response.”

As part of the project, ThinkWell supports the government of the Philippines to quantify and map fund flows for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and specifically for family planning (FP).

Challenges

Although there is recognition that family planning services are essential, access to these services in the Philippines remains highly inequitable. As the country strives to improve its delivery of family planning services, especially for the underserved, mapping the financial flows for family planning is timely and significant. This mapping will help estimate the additional resources needed for reaching the national goals. In addition, because of the devolved delivery of essential primary care services such as FP, there is also a need to understand and document funds flows at a local level.

Approach

We are working to strengthen the Commission on Population and Development’s (formerly POPCOM) ability to monitor the flow of resources on family planning and population activities. We’re doing this by conducting the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)/Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) Resource Flows Survey. This survey covers both public and private allocations and expenditures for the provision of services on FP and population programs. The survey gathers data from national and local agencies, non-government organizations, and private service providers, among others.

Specific activities include:

  1. Assist the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM) in carrying out the UNFPA-NIDI survey on financial flows for family planning for fiscal year (FY) 2019
  2. Adapt the NIDI methodology for mapping local fund flows for family planning in two municipalities (a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area (GIDA) and a non-GIDA municipality) from two provinces in the Philippines.
  3. Generate insights and recommendations for improving the allocative efficiency and sustainability of financing flows for family planning under the Universal Health Care Law.

Breaking New Ground

We support POPCOM for the NIDI survey to better capture investments in FP services. With stronger data, gaps will be identified and POPCOM will be empowered to advocate for additional FP resources and for more efficient allocation of these resources. The mapping of the FP fund flows at a local level is also a first for the Philippines and has the potential to become a model for global fund flow mapping.

Strengthening Evidence Generation and Use

One aims of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) 2018 to 2021 strategic plan is to strengthen national data systems and improve demographic intelligence. This will help provide governments with critical information in decision making, especially in crisis situations such as Covid-19. In the Philippines, UNFPA contracted ThinkWell for the project, “Support to the DOH in Evidence-based Policies to Protect Vulnerable Populations: Mapping Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Funds Flow and Evidence Generation for the COVID-19 Response.”

As part of the project, ThinkWell provides technical assistance to the Department of Health (DOH) to strengthen their coordinating role in evidence generation and utilization during the pandemic. This demographic intelligence will help ensure that marginalized population groups, whose pre-existing vulnerabilities are compounded by Covid-19, do not become more marginalized because of the pandemic.

Challenges

Covid-19 uncovered a health system that is unprepared when it comes to disaster and pandemic response. Some of the most problematic areas are in data management and governance. The lack of complete, accurate, and timely information and knowledge needed in the response and mitigation effort during the pandemic continues to be a challenge not just in the Philippines, but also globally. As such, there is a need to prioritize, rationalize, and align all of the DOH’s Covid-19 data analysis efforts.

Approach

To generate evidence around the Covid-19 response, we assist the DOH in mapping and addressing knowledge gaps for effective policy making and programming during the pandemic. We’re developing a system to identify priorities for data analysis, coordinating contributions from stakeholders, and communicating to decision-makers data analysis insights. Specific activities include:

  1. Provide technical support to enable the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ Sub-Technical Working Group (TWG) on Data Analytics (chaired by the DOH) to understand the data governance milieu. This includes stakeholders involved, institutional capacities and limitations, power/relationship dynamics, and exchanges. We will highlight the barriers and enablers to effective utilization of data for decision support in relation to Covid-19 response and mitigation.
  2. Assist the IATF Sub-TWG on Data Analytics to map and prioritize the decision support and requisite data needed to inform effective planning and implementation of Covid-19 response and mitigation strategies as it aligns with efforts to transition the economy to the new normal status.
  3. Propose a sustainability/transition plan that the IATF Sub-TWG on Data Analytics can adapt for generation, synthesis, dissemination, and use of data to inform effective planning and implementation of Covid-19 response and mitigation strategies.

Breaking New Ground

For evidence generation around the Covid-19 response, crafting the appropriate Covid-19 data roadmap helps to nuance and detail how intergovernmental collaborative efforts can be maximized. This roadmap will become a template for institutionalization and application to address other similar issues where multi-stakeholder collaboration is needed, such as in future pandemics or emergencies. Data management and governance is one of the DOH’s weaknesses. Through the groundwork done in this project for Covid-19 data, we’re helping ensure that the DoH has the appropriate policies, standards, and processes for data, especially where intra-DOH collaboration is needed. The output can also serve as the template for consolidating all data-related needs and initiatives for the DOH.

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