The Strategic Pathway to Reproductive Health Commodity Security (SPARHCS), developed by the DELIVER, POLICY, and Commercial Market Strategies (CMS) projects (in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and other donors and technical agencies), serves as an assessment, planning, and implementation tool to help countries address contraceptive security (CS) issues and to determine areas for strengthening and intervention. SPARHCS examines six key areas that factor into a country’s CS situation: client use and demand, context, commitment, capital, capacity, and coordination. Moreover, it is a universal assessment tool that can be tailored to specific timelines, country contexts, or program objectives. The briefs in this series outline the experience of using SPARHCS in assessing contraceptive security in Peru, Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. The assessments’ findings have been used to stimulate dialogue on strategies to advance toward achieving contraceptive security in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Documentation of the Use of SPARHCS: Peru
Contraceptive security (CS) is achieved when individuals have the ability to choose, obtain, and use
contraceptives and condoms whenever they need them. The Strategic Pathway to Reproductive Health
Commodity Security (SPARHCS) framework provides countries with a tool to assess contraceptive
security and to design plans for advancing it in both the short and long term.
In September 2003, with input from Peru’s CS committee, a team from Futures Group/POLICY and John Snow Inc. (JSI)/DELIVER conducted a SPARHCS assessment as part of the Latin America and the 1Caribbean (LAC) Regional CS Feasibility Study. It was the first of five SPARHCS assessments conducted in the region. The overall goal of the study was to analyze and identify barriers and
opportunities to achieving contraceptive security at both the country and regional levels. As a follow-on
to the study, the POLICY and DELIVER projects are working with the USAID on assistance strategies 2for countries at regional, subregional, and national levels, under the LAC Regional CS Initiative. The
technical assistance will build capacity within Peru and in the LAC region to address CS issues in the
short, medium, and long term.
This brief describes the Peru CS context and SPARHCS assessment and the findings and
recommendations, lessons learned, and activities and progress made since the SPARHCS application.
CS Context in Peru
The SPARHCS team reviewed the demographic indicators, the history of donor financing of
contraceptives, the family planning (FP) market, and the economic and political environment in Peru to
understand the context related to achieving contraceptive security (Taylor et al., 2004).
3Demographic indicators. In the 1990s, significant government and donor investment in family planning
resulted in increased contraceptive use and changes in demographic indicators. The contraceptive 4prevalence rate (CPR) for married women of reproductive age (MWRA), ages 15-49, increased from 59
percent in 1991 to 69 percent in 2000. Also during that period, the CPR for MWRA in rural areas
increased from 41 to 61 percent and in urban areas from 66 to 73 percent. However, despite the increased
rates, in 2000, the unmet need for family planning was 10 percent for MWRA and was even higher for
certain populations, including youth, the less educated, and those living in rural and remote, mountainous
areas (ENDES, 1991/2; ENDES, 1996; ENDES, 2000).
History of donor financing of contraceptives. From 1993–2004, USAID donated contraceptive commodities to the Ministry of Health (MINSA). USAID will continue contraceptive commodity
1 USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC/RSD-PHN) conducted a Regional CS Feasibility Study to guide future policy and programmatic decisions at the regional and country levels. USAID’s DELIVER
and POLICY projects implemented the study by creating CS assessments in Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru,
using SPARHCS. 2 USAID’s Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean launched a regional initiative, following the Regional CS Feasibility Study, to determine how contraceptive security in the LAC region could be more effectively addressed in light of the phase out of
contraceptive donations. The initiative, being implemented by the POLICY and DELIVER Projects, is now in its third year of
activities. 3 Peru’s population exceeds 28 million inhabitants. Nearly 21 million people (73 percent) live in urban areas. There are 7 million
women (26 percent) of reproductive age, and demographic projections reveal that Peru’s population of women of reproductive
age will continue to grow into the next decade (PRB, 2005). 4 Includes both women who are married legally and by common law. 1
donations to select nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) for social marketing programs for an 5undefined period. From 1997–2003, USAID contracted the Peruvian NGO, PRISMA, to manage
contraceptive logistics for USAID and MINSA. Since 2003, USAID has been transferring logistics management and financial responsibilities from PRISMA to MINSA. Contraceptive commodity
donations from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) ended in 1998, but UNFPA continues to
provide condoms for HIV/AIDS prevention, and to facilitate the procurement of contraceptives for
MINSA. The International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Department for International
Development (United Kingdom) also provided contraceptives to MINSA and select NGOs in small
quantities, but their donations ended in 2001 (Taylor et al., 2004).
FP providers and methods. MINSA is Peru’s main provider of FP services and products, serving 69 percent of FP users (see Figure 1). The commercial sector, composed of private health providers and
pharmacies, is responsible for 17 percent of the market share for family planning. EsSALUD, the
country’s social security system, serves 11 percent of FP users. Finally, NGOs and other sources are
responsible for the remaining 3 percent of FP provision (ENDES, 2000).
In 2000, 73 percent of current FP users reported using modern methods (see Figure 2). Modern methods
used include injectables (21 percent), female sterilization (17 percent), IUDs (13 percent), oral
contraceptives (OCs) (10 percent), condoms (9 percent), and other (3 percent). This modern method mix
is costly for MINSA, with a large portion of its FP clientele seeking relatively expensive injectables and
OCs. Twenty-seven percent reported traditional method use, which decreased from 44 percent in 1991
(ENDES, 1991/2; ENDES, 2000).
Figure 2. Method Mix Among Users of Family Figure 1. Source Mix Among Users of Modern Planning in Peru (2000)Methods in Peru (2000)
OtherNGOOther3%2%PharmacyInjectables1%8%21%Traditional Private 27%provider
Economic and political environment. Several economic and political factors pose challenges to national and regional contraceptive security. Peru enjoyed a period of economic growth in the mid-1990s, but
gross domestic product fell between 1997 and 2001, threatening to erode progress made in the 1990s in
health and development indicators. Health spending as a percent of gross domestic product has declined
since 2001 and is currently about 6 percent. Poverty levels have increased since the late 1990s from 48
percent in 1997 to 54 percent in 2003 (World Bank/WDI, 2002; CIA, 2004). Limited funds affect the
government’s ability to invest in family planning and its ability to increase MINSA’s annual contraceptive budget.
5 PRISMA is an NGO that specializes in contraceptive supply chain management and, from 1997–2003, provided contraceptive
logistics technical assistance to MINSA and NGOs that receive USAID-donated contraceptives.
Since the early 1990s, laws, policies, and financial resources have been in place to support Peruvians’
access to FP services; however, family planning continues to be a controversial topic. From 2000–2003,
governmental officials opposed to family planning attempted to alter the legal framework supporting it.
Though this attempt was not successful, it is an important reminder that future political support for family
planning is not guaranteed. Furthermore, government reforms, such as decentralization and changes in
health services delivery, create conditions that could potentially disrupt progress in achieving
The SPARHCS Assessment in Peru
The SPARHCS assessment in Peru, conducted from September 1–11, 2003, articulated the country’s
national objectives, including identifying existing challenges in the public and private sectors affecting
contraceptive security; raising awareness among decisionmakers about the need for coordinated action to
overcome these challenges; and suggesting strategies for decreasing dependence on donated commodities
while, at the same time, preserving gains made in the 1990s in contraceptive demand.
Key players. The SPARHCS team included five individuals from DELIVER and POLICY, and it relied
on the collaboration and input of 11 in-country partners from various divisions of MINSA, the Social
Security Institute (EsSALUD), local NGOs, and USAID/Peru and other international agencies.
6The CS committee in Peru, formed after the 2003 LAC Regional CS Conference in Managua, Nicaragua, played a valuable role in planning for the SPARHCS assessment by identifying interviewees and
arranging meetings for the team. After completing the assessment, the CS committee assisted the team in
reviewing the assessment’s findings and formulating the national CS recommendations.
Information gathering. The SPARHCS team gathered information through a document review,
interpersonal interviews, focus groups, a site visit, and debriefings with USAID and CS committee
members. In addition, the team prepared contraceptive commodity and cost projections through 2015 7using SPECTRUM software, with inputs drawn from available national data. The team integrated
POLICY/Peru’s study findings on FP services and market segmentation into the assessment (Sharma et
The team conducted in-depth interviews with 29 key informants from local and national government
agencies and NGOs, international health and development agencies, and private sector organizations
involved in health and family planning in Peru. Two SPARHCS team members conducted a site visit to
determine the status of regional and provincial CS activities, during which they conducted interviews with
high-level representatives of the regional government, a provincial hospital, and a local NGO.
Findings and dissemination of results. The team presented preliminary findings to the CS committee on the final day of the assessment. After the committee provided additional information and revisions, the
team completed an in-depth assessment report in English and a summary report, titled “CS in Peru:
Evaluation of Strengths and Weaknesses,” in both English and Spanish. The summary report was distributed at the LAC Regional CS Forum in Lima, Peru, in October 2004, and is available on the
8websites of POLICY and DELIVER.
6 The CS committee includes representatives from MINSA and EsSALUD; local NGOs, including INPPARES (IPPF affiliate),
APROPO (social marketing), and PRISMA (logistics management); and international organizations, including
Pathfinder/CATALYST, POLICY/Peru, UNFPA, and USAID. 7 SPECTRUM is a suite of policy models, designed by the POLICY Project, used to project the need for reproductive healthcare
and the consequences of not addressing reproductive health needs. 8 www.policyproject.com; www.deliver.jsi.com.
The SPARHCS assessment revealed evidence of progress toward achieving contraceptive security but
also revealed challenges in the areas of financing, market segmentation, procurement, logistics, and
Overview of SPARHCS Findings policy and political commitment (Taylor et al., 2004).
Financing. Peru has made significant progress in the financing of contraceptives. Since 1999, MINSA
has purchased increasing amounts of contraceptives. In 2004, MINSA planned to cover 80 percent of its
annual contraceptive needs, and in 2005, MINSA expected to cover 100 percent, as donations would no
longer be made. However, despite its commitment to meeting contraceptive requirements, MINSA needs
more funds than appear to be available. Its annual financial requirement will increase from US$4 million 9in 2000 to US$6 million by 2015, assuming contraceptives are procured at low prices (Taylor et al., 2004).
Market segmentation. The current market segmentation for family planning in Peru is the country’s most challenging issue, as it directly affects financing and service delivery capacity. From 1992–2000, Peru’s FP market changed significantly, with the public sector’s market share increasing from 49 to 79 percent. Behind this drastic change is a 1995 policy that supported access to family planning for all Peruvians and
mandated free FP services in the public sector for anyone wanting them. While the policy is largely
responsible for a significant increase in contraceptive coverage, the policy relied heavily on donated
contraceptive commodities and is not sustainable because Peru is no longer receiving these donations.
The government must consider alternative financing mechanisms to protect the poor’s access to public sector FP commodities and should consider strategies for diverting wealthier clientele to private sector
The 1995 policy decision also inhibited the private sector’s market share because it is difficult for the private sector to compete with low or no-cost FP providers. To achieve more rational market
segmentation, the private sector’s role in FP provision must be expanded, in particular for those in middle
and upper economic groups.
Procurement. UNFPA has helped Peru to procure contraceptives at low prices; however, the lengthy
process has resulted in delays that have seriously disrupted their availability. NGOs with social marketing
programs have also experienced challenges with international procurement, such as inconsistent prices
and unreliable product availability. Fortunately, MINSA, EsSALUD, and other NGOs involved in FP
service delivery have experience with procurement and are now looking for alternative mechanisms.
Currently, national procurement regulations and practices favor national suppliers, and although national procurement would be a more costly alternative to UNFPA procurement, contraceptive manufacturers in
Peru seem open to price negotiation.
Logistics and information systems. Peru’s contraceptive logistics system is excellent. However, from 1997–2003, it was managed by PRISMA and financed by USAID and MINSA. Since 2003, PRISMA has
been transferring the logistics system to MINSA and is working with the ministry to design an integrated
pharmaceutical management system. By 2006, the transfer of logistics functions from PRISMA to
MINSA and the transfer of logistics management costs from USAID to MINSA should be complete.
Policy, political commitment, and leadership. Peru is one of the few countries in the LAC region where
contraceptives have a national budget line item and are considered strategic commodities, aspects that
bode well for achieving contraceptive security but do not guarantee it. Advocacy and lobbying are
9 Low prices are those that governments and organizations pay for contraceptives using the UNFPA’s reimbursable procurement mechanism. These prices include shipping and a 5 percent charge for UNFPA’s management costs.
necessary to ensure that the line item is funded and that family planning continues to be an important
component of public health programming. A reproductive health watchdog group, composed of civil
society groups and NGOs, has been essential in preserving reproductive health progress in Peru in times
of political opposition. Imminent decentralization may pose challenges for national contraceptive security
because the views of regional authorities on family planning as a priority vary.
Main Recommendations for Achieving Contraceptive Security
The Peru SPARHCS assessment revealed many potential interventions for achieving contraceptive
security. These were grouped into five priority strategies:
? Promote a more rational market segmentation of family planning by targeting government-subsidized
contraceptives to those in the poorest income groups and encouraging the expansion of the private
sector’s role in supplying contraceptives to those in the middle and upper economic groups.
? Lobby for increased government funding for contraceptives and for low-cost procurement via
UNFPA’s reimbursable procurement mechanism or other cost-effective mechanisms.
? Ensure the smooth transition of PRISMA technical and financial oversight to MINSA’s integrated
pharmaceutical management system, called SISMED.
? Advocate for health sector and government reforms that preserve past FP achievements and promote
further progress toward contraceptive security.
? Strengthen the CS committee by clearly defining its roles and responsibilities and by drafting a CS
action plan to ensure that it stimulates interagency dialogue, planning, advocacy, and implementation.
Lessons Learned Using SPARHCS in Peru
Important lessons emerged from Peru’s SPARHCS assessment that can be used to inform SPARHCS assessments in other countries. Because Peru’s assessment was the first of five to occur in the LAC region, the other country teams used some of these lessons to improve the efficiency of their assessments.
Use SPARHCS to create a common understanding of contraceptive security. POLICY and DELIVER
presented the SPARHCS framework to country teams from Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and
Peru at the 2003 LAC Regional CS Conference in Managua, Nicaragua. The presentation included a
comprehensive review of the main CS concepts and the range of stakeholders that could participate in CS
initiatives. As a result, the country teams gained a common understanding of contraceptive security and
saw the value of SPARHCS as a consensus-building tool.
Adapt SPARHCS locally to achieve a more effective application in the field. SPARHCS was adapted for
application in the LAC region and in the field, allowing it to become a more operational and efficient tool.
Adaptations for the LAC region included expanding the key CS areas to 10 (environment, policy,
leadership and commitment, financing, market segmentation, client demand and use, access and quality of
services, procurement, coordination, and logistics). Because Peru’s assessment was the first assessment
conducted in the region, the Peru SPARHCS team created several data collection formats in Spanish for
use in the entire region. Other SPARHCS teams subsequently refined the formats to make them relevant
to their own countries.
Draw on the SPARHCS framework as a guide. In Peru, the SPARHCS team used the framework as a general guide for conducting the assessment rather than a stringent set of instructions. For example, the
SPARHCS team found it necessary to fine tune interview questions for country relevance and to organize
interview questions by institution (e.g., Ministry of Finance, NGOs, MINSA), depending on which would
have the necessary information. The Peru SPARHCS team also chose to conduct free-form interviews,
using the questions as guidance and later as an organizational tool for the information collected.
Use SPARHCS as a complementary tool. SPARHCS is not a stand-alone tool; it requires an array of sources and types of information for its proper use. The SPARHCS team relied on notes from interviews
and focus groups, various cost calculations, SPECTRUM, and Demographic and Health Survey (DHS)
and national health account analyses. As such, the assessment generated a large volume of information,
and ultimately the greatest challenge to the SPARHCS team was culling the information into specific next
steps and recommendations at the country level. A noted limitation was that the SPARHCS tool does not
provide a framework for analyzing the information that is collected for use in strategy development.
Consult local field staff to maximize a SPARHCS assessment. To maximize the time allotted for the
assessment and local technical input, POLICY/Peru field staff contacted key informants and scheduled
the meetings prior to the team’s arrival. As a result, the SPARHCS team was able to spend two weeks in Peru solely on information gathering and synthesis because coordination for the assessment took place
prior to the team’s arrival.
Involve national CS committees in all stages of the assessment process. In the five LAC countries, CS
committees have provided valuable assistance to SPARHCS teams in preparing for assessments, revising
and fine tuning findings and recommendations, and planning how to use them to move CS activities
Activities and Progress since the SPARHCS Application
Since the SPARHCS application, Peru’s efforts to achieve contraceptive security, especially those of the CS committee, have been helping to create a stronger enabling policy environment and more sustainable
financing alternatives. Selected activities and progress include the following:
? With eight other countries, Peru participated in the CS LAC Regional Forum held in October 2004 in
Lima, Peru. The CS committee created short-term strategies to encourage a more rationally
segmented market through targeting resources, encouraging private sector dialogue, increasing
private sector provision of contraceptive methods, and including family planning in insurance benefits.
In addition, the committee discussed strategies to increase advocacy for contraceptive security and
increase the budget for contraceptives.
? In 2004, MINSA assumed leadership for addressing contraceptive security through its Reproductive
Health Strategy, thereby ensuring policy implementation.
? Also in 2004, MINSA, with support from USAID, completed a pricing study that ultimately allowed
the government to purchase contraceptives at low prices, resulting in significant savings for the
? New DHS data show an increase, from 17 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2004, in the role of the
commercial sector in providing contraceptive methods, which is an important step toward securing
the sustainability of family planning in Peru (ENDES, 2000; ENDES, 2004 Continua). Seventy-eight
percent of the commercial sector’s clientele belong to the two highest economic segments.
? POLICY presented an updated FP market segmentation analysis and a trends analysis to the CS
committee in December 2005. The committee is currently preparing strategies to achieve a more
rational market segmentation and, specifically, to secure access to contraceptives for the poor.
? The CS committee has collaborated with five local NGOs and international agencies on market
segmentation activities, resulting in proposed resource-targeting strategies for MINSA’s FP program.
Other activities initiated include working with MINSA to understand and improve aspects of FP
service delivery; examining operational policies of private and other insurance schemes, with the aim
of including family planning; and analyzing and modifying norms of the public health sector to
ensure access to FP services.
? DELIVER and POLICY conducted an in-depth procurement options analysis for Peru, which will
form part of a LAC regional procurement options analysis. This analysis will help countries identify
the best procurement option and consider advocacy strategies directed at eliminating obstructive
As part of the LAC CS Initiative, Peru will continue to take part in activities through 2006 to advance
progress toward achieving contraceptive security. POLICY and DELIVER will provide technical
assistance to increase momentum. The main activities include capacity building on the use of data for
projections and CS advocacy and CS strategic planning. These activities will ensure that Peru can
continue advancing toward contraceptive security after 2006.
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